Sunday, July 11, 2010

TWEENagers....


Here's the thing. I reeeeeeally wanted a nice picture of me with my children.
Here's the other thing....we don't always get exactly what we want, particularly when TWEENagers are involved!

The House of Wong

At this time, the closest Sammy & I have gotten to China is the dimly lit family dinners we used to enjoy (paper chicken was Sam's fav) at the House of Wong in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Visiting the House of Wong became a tradition with the Steers family.
Soon my grandmother, Dran, began taking Aunt Paula and my younger cousins Orran Lee & Carly to the House of Wong for their own dimly lit dinners during summer visits to Kentucky.
There are various stories and fond memories that sprang from our family dinners at the House of Wong...we won't bore you with those but we will take credit for cousin Carly's interest in East Asian studies. Her fluency of the language and doctoral accomplishments are of her own making!

Carly is spending a year in China & Japan...if you're interested in the culture check out her blog, listed at left under Soul Sisters.
For now, Sammy & I are content with life in our homeland...


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Muffin Makeover...by Sam!

For you sis...here's to your latest spray tan and aspirations of strength training!! Just a preview as to what would be if you continue down the path of spraying and start pumping iron!! LOL!



Steer clear of the oil while visiting the gulf coast...would hate to see what oil does to the spray tan...might be hard to maintain the MommyDiva image with that kind of streaking!!

Cheers!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten Potatoes


Honesty really is the best policy. And I'm not talking about the advice we give our children. I'm talking about grown-up honesty. I'm talking about honesty with oneself. I'm talking about self-awareness that only comes with age. I'll be honest with you, now that I've been honest with myself. I've been in a bit of a 'twist' lately, and I thought I'd share some of my discoveries.

First, what I found lurking in my kitchen drawer will shock and horrify many women. Most of all my own mother. When I saw the long alien-looking sprouts protuding from the new potato I couldn't believe my eyes. I'd never seen sprouts this long on any potato, much less one of mine. Immediately, I knew this was the potato my husband was referring to when he mentioned buying the 3lb bag of new potatoes as opposed to the 5 lb bag. Clearly the deep kitchen drawer hadn't been opened in awhile. Before you judgmental hussies start forming opinions let me say that we have a fabulous, and I do mean fabulous, housekeeper. I applaud myself for the hire. My husband applauds her for the cleaning, scrubbing and refreshing she gives our home twice a week. So, you can imagine my surprise when I found a rotten potato in the center of my sparkling-clean kitchen. After retrieving the alien-looking new potato from the top of the drawer, I looked into the drawer more closely. Ugh. I saw a clear plastic bag. Oh no, I felt slightly sick at my stomach, what is it? I have to get it. It's my responsibility. I braced myself for the mushiness...yep. A baked potato. Not mushy. No long sprouts...just gumball, spikey-looking spheres all over its potato body. Good God, I thought, that is gnarly looking....


After finding the potato I've thought a lot about how my simple failure to open the drawer led to the gnarly sprouts growing and growing and growing. I walk by that drawer many times a day. If only I had thought to open the drawer. But I've been too busy.

The business of life has contributed to my 'twist.' You know, just realizing, accepting and understanding that life as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and professional will continue to be very busy whether it's soccer season, summer, football season, or Christmas. If I'm going to find myself in a 'twist' whenever life is busy....well, then I'm in a perpetual twist. And I don't want to be in a twist forever. Webster's dictionary defines twist as "to contort or distort; to confuse; to spiral; to revolve or rotate; to wind, as a path does; writhe." The twist I'm referring to is a period of self-awareness. See me--twisting--turning--I'm pretty much inside-out trying to figure out who the hell this woman is today. Our oldest daughter's march toward adolescence was the impetus for my personal twist. [side note: Aunt Sammy if you're crying at his 4-K graduation, just wait until you're shaving armpit hairs.] My age--I'm turning 40 next January-- I'm sure has contributed to my twist. My personal twist has been a process of embracing myself as a woman who is entering her 40's. My personal twist has led to my accepting myself in spite of mistakes I've made recently and those made long ago. Part of the twist I've been in is a result of acknowledging the hurt and pain my parents failed marriage caused my sister and me (and them) and burying that hurt so it doesn't affect the way I feel about myself today, 25 years later.

Finding the rotten potatoes catapulted me into reality about the twist I've been in. What the fuck? I asked myself. What am I doing? I mean, the fucking potatoes are right under my nose...just open the drawer and throw them out. It is what it is. Nothing more. Nothing less. Rotten fucking potatoes. You just open the drawer and throw them out. My responsibility....ok, John could've opened the drawer and thrown them away but we all know if John opened that drawer he would've closed it quickly...knowing that I would clean it out.

Open the drawer Mama.
You may be shocked and amazed at what you find lurking in the drawers of a freshly cleaned kitchen...but honey it won't be any worse than what I found lurking in mine.

Next time, other discoveries I've made during my personal 'twist' including breathing and surrendering.






Friday, May 7, 2010

Nashville Tennessee Flood 2010

It's been one heck of a week in Middle TN...please pray for the recovery efforts taking place...there has been great devastation in our community and too many lives lost!

Take a moment to view the video below...you will be amazed at what transpired over a 2 day period...simply amazing!

Wishing much love and sending many hugs to everyone impacted by the 2010 Middle TN Flood.


Friday, April 16, 2010

The Yellow Card

I wasn’t on the sideline when it happened. I was on another field when the referee threw the yellow card on my daughter.

We had two soccer games both at 6:30. The children rode with me to the soccer field, and my older daughter was anticipating the night’s game a little more than usual. She announced to us on the way, “Amy asked everyone in our class this morning, ‘Who do you think is going to win tonight? Me or Emma Reed.’” Like any good Southerner, our daughter gave an exaggerated pause and we were left hanging for a few seconds, waiting to hear the results of the impromptu 4th grade straw poll. She continued, “And 23 people said me, and only 2 said Amy.” The Cheshire cat couldn’t have mustered a bigger grin. Our daughter was full of excitement anticipating tonight's game against her friends. “I’ll vote for you too!” Our little friend spoke up enthusiastically (who happens to be the sister of one of the players Emma Reed was playing that evening). “Ok. That makes twenty-four people who voted for us,” she said happily as we all climbed out of the car.

You watch Emma and I’ll go with Ellis.” I told John as he walked up to the lower fields.

“You sure?” He asked.

“Yea. We’ll be back down here after Ellis’ game.”


John stayed to watch Emma Reed. My younger daughter and I found her field and team. Two families who are dear friends happened to be playing on the field just opposite our younger daughter. We said hello and chatted. In prior games their team experienced soccer field drama, of the 7-year-old-boy variety. For the most part we’ve escaped any serious drama. If you’ve been on the soccer field as a parent, aunt, uncle, friend or coach you know games get intense. The children look to their coach and parents for instruction. And by the way, to the elementary school-age child the referees are the ultimate arbiters of good soccer.

I've settled in watching our younger daughter and I'm curious to know how Emma Reed is doing in her game, so I text John.

Me: “Ellis scored....how’s ER?”

John: “She just got a yellow card....I am pissed

Me: “Surely you r kidding...

What you should know is, we have never seen, or heard tell-off a yellow card being thrown at this level. Never. Unimaginable. Really unthinkable. What in the world happened? My heart begins to race and I feel the blood rushing up from my neck.

John: Nope...this guy is a fuc!ing fool.

Me: For what???

John: It was fuc!ing stupid...the guy is a joke.

I know what a yellow card is. And I understand the severity of having a yellow card thrown on a player. The severity that accompanies the yellow card is the precise reason we've never seen or heard of one being thrown at this level--their actions intentional or accidental simply do not merit a yellow card. My younger brother played high school soccer. The yellow card is pulled when the player’s infraction is so flagrant that the referee really has no choice but to throw the yellow card. Sometimes it is thrown to keep bullies and hot-heads in check...but my Emma?

Me(texting): Is that a personal foul...who did it involve...

John: Said she intentionally threw the ball at somebody.

I stomp over to our friends–who are not unfamiliar with soccer drama. “John just said Emma Reed got a yellow card!” “What?” Our friends exclaimed. “What happened?” The Dad immediately responded. “I’ve never heard of that!”

“I know” I said. “John says it was ridiculous. Trying to find out. Maybe you should text him.” I told our friend. And he does. He beginsAs I walk back over to watch my daughter, our friends are as surprised as I am about the yellow card. This just doesn’t happen.....to anyone.

Me(texting): Trey is on his way with backups...

Me: Who? Did the ball hit someone?

John: Don’t know who.

I was trying to act as interested as I could in my younger daughter’s game but I needed details.

Me(texting): Did u see her throw it in and the ball hit someone...sorry just can’t believe a yellow card.

Never seen that?? Thought it might involve Amy or Lindy since they all go at it?? Score??

John: No...I was standing right by her. The ref almost got his ass beat. He made her cry. 0-0.

Me: Oh no. Bless her. Coach should encourage her...don’t want her to get turned off.

John: He did. Everybody did except the damn ref.


My face is red as a beet. I’m fuming and sad for Emma. I hope the poor call by the referee doesn’t make her timid or unsure of herself....she had gained so much confidence this season.

As our game ends, my friends walk down to the field with me. They too want to know exactly what took place....who made this call and why? John walks over to me and explains to us that Emma was throwing in the ball from the sideline and it hit another girl in the chest. It was an obvious accident. The ref ran over and pulled the yellow card in her face and yelled, “You intentionally hit her. That’s a yellow card for you.” She was visibly upset, crying. Her coach encouraged her and from the tone of John’s text I’m sure he adequately displayed his own disgust to the referee, who is college-age.

John went on to say that our dear friend who was helping coach the other team was obviously outdone with the call and yelled, “Don’t worry about it Emma. Keep your head-up.” In the heat of the moment our friend extended genuine and heartfelt encouragement, and.he did so in spite of the fact that the poor call benefitted his daughter's team. These are the moments we wait for, and we watch for as parents and people. The moments we try to prepare for. The unscripted moment when crushing disappointment strikes our child....who will offer the heartfelt words of encouragement.

As we stood on the sidelines and watched the rest of the game our friends, John and I cheered loudly for Emma Reed and her teammates. She gave us big smiles and we knew we had sufficiently rehabilitated her self-assurance--as family and friends do.

Honestly, I thought my dear friend Robyn might take the field to give our precious daughter a big bear-hug.I know she wanted to, I could see it in her eyes. After the game a mother of a teammate came up to us, her hands planted firmly on her hips, “What kinda shit was that?” I shook my head and smiled, “I don’t know just an overly eager ref, baaaadd call" I replied. “I’ll say...you played a good game hon,” she said as she looked at my daughter. The kids piled in the car with John and as I walked to my car I reviewed and quickly analyzed the night’s events. The bonds of friendship and community provide real and visible opportunities to build people up, or tear them down. I appreciated our friends’ show of support and genuine interest in Emma Reed immediately following the yellow card episode. During dinner, as we discussed the game she teared up again. In fact, she was so upset she was unable to talk, unable to finish her statement--why did they pull the yellow card? We gave her the obligatory' it was a bad call' and reminded her, and ourselves, it wouldn't be the last bad call if she continued to play sports.

Ideally, competition fosters character, resolve and discipline. Occasionally, a comment, gesture or action by a player, coach, parent or referee goes beyond the pale of proper play/etiquette. There is no play-book to instruct you the parent, or the coach how to handle the comments, gestures and/or actions which are beyond the pale. When you're in the middle of a game feelings and emotions are real and meaningful, not only for the players and coaches but for the parents watching on the sideline. Everyone is emotionally invested. This is life-training at its best. When the yellow card is thrown on your daughter, I hope you have good back-up....like we did.



Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To Heckle Tiger, or Not To Heckle Tiger

That is the question.
I'll be cheering for my hometown hero, Kenny Perry!!! Kenny came verrrrrry close to winning the Masters last year. He and I grew up in the same small Kentucky town. In the same neighborhood in fact. Let's give it up for all the other golfers who are not attracting paparzzi but desperately trying to win a major tournament....the azaleas are in bloom....the egg salad sandwiches are being prepared and hubby & I are on our way to one of THE finest sporting events in the world.
Now. If John can just get me outta there without me heckling Tiger!?!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Palm Sunday

No. Today is not Palm Sunday--it's not even Sunday. But last Sunday was Palm Sunday and that morning has been on my mind. We arrived at church late and the congregants were huddled outside the main entrance, holding and waving palm leaves.
"I'll park the car, just go on," John said as we rushed the children out of the car, trying to get to the service on time. We almost didn't go to church that morning....well, all hell was breaking loose at the house. Our youngest refuses (and by refuses I mean he throws a full-blown hissy) to wear 'church clothes' and left the house with khaki shorts and a collared shirt. Much to his mother's chagrin, our son wouldn't consider the darling 2 piece pale blue micro-check w/smocked bunny....not to mention locating shoes appropriate for the girls to wear to church. I digress.

As we walked up to the crowd, an usher handed us programs and bear-hugged our children. "I'm so glad to see you Emma Reed," he said. And he was. What you should know about this usher is that he is a long-time Sunday School teacher, elementary school teacher/coach and that my oldest daughter is almost as tall as him-he is not a large man-but his love and warmth toward our children that morning struck me. His committment to being at church and heartily, sincerely, welcoming St. Peter's youngest members meant more to me than he will ever know. And he was just being himself.

As the crowd pushed into the church I scanned the full pews, looking for a place for our family. We filed into the pew and took our seats, and the children immediately begin playing with their palm leaves. "Palm Sunday" the words appeared at the front of the church.
What was I thinking, not come? Who cares that he is too casual, we're here. I'm thinking to myself, as the congregation prepares to read through The Passion.

Different Parishioners have roles in the reading of The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, and if you don't know what that is you better get your ass to church....
As the Passion is read, our children are stripping their palm leaves which annoys me at first. They pipe up occassionally as different parts of the story are read, but remain focused on mutilating their palm leaf, which I decide is typical of children and I'm just happy they are in the pew with me. As we continue to read I find myself listening intently to the story, and I'm secretly wishing the ending would be different--just get down off that cross, I think. You can do it. I'm envisioning a new and different ending with fanfare and trumpets, and Jesus miraculously getting down off the cross. Something more akin to an episode of Bewitched, or a scene from the recent novel/movie, The Lightning Thief. Further, in my vision Jesus befriends the criminal who was in awe of him, and chides the criminal who chided him. And in my vision, Jesus is triumphant when he uses the miracles of strength and power to get himself down off the cross. I see Jesus standing holding a lighting bolt in his hand.
Well. Welcome to the "Church of Muffin." I have given you my preferred ending to the story we all know so well.
Rather, the Holy Scripture provides that our Lord and Saviour does not get down from the cross. God does not send a lighting bolt....or a band of angels to save Him. He dies a slow painful human death and the darkness comes. And Jesus wails and cries out to God....and there are those who chide Him in the final hour, and there are those who are in awe of Him in the final hour. The veil at the Temple is ripped from top to bottom and the centurion knows the prophesy has been fulfilled.

As I'm sitting in the pew contemplating my preferred vision versus the ending the Holy Scripture provides, my eyes fill with tears. I am overcome with emotion. Yes, I wonder if I need to get on something but I chalk it up to the Holy Spirit. Where is my emotion coming from? I ask myself. And as I quickly analyze I admit that my unexpected swell of emotion is not so much for Jesus (people he rises 3 days later) but for my appreciation to the friends who share the pews with me at St. Peter's, and other friends beyond the church walls. The bonds of friendship and the support of community that John and I value not only with our St. Peter's family but with other friends and family as well. And then, like a lightning bolt, I am struck by the fact that too often I am looking-waiting-searching for God's miracles to appear with majesty and fanfare and I miss the gentle, modest expessions of loving-kindness present in daily life. When the darkness comes, the miracles are not announced with trumpets and fanfare. The lightning bolts of reason and clarity are revealed at the most unexpected times and places. And the band of angels here to comfort and support do not have big gilded wings and sing "Gloria," but have loving arms that wrap around our children and quietly welcome them to church. The miracles of Faith come in mundane expressions of love, sympathy and understanding. Miracles come in the form of forgiveness and charity for others. Make no mistake, these miracles are Divine. Only, in the Church of God the Father, Jesus the Son & the Holy Spirit, the miracles are not accompanied with trumpets and fanfare but they come with the loving-kindness and warmth of a human heart.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

His Mountains Majesty

"You've come a long way baby," John told me as we boarded the plane in Salt Lake. Yes, honey I have.
Our first ski trip to Sun Valley, Idaho, in 1996 (which was my first skiing trip ever) ended with my being curried down the mountain in a basket, faking a knee injury.
For John's sake, because he enjoys skiing and wants our children to be able to ski (or at least avoid being taken down in a basket!) I've persevered in learning to ski.
No. I do not do blacks. I know my limits. I have no time for injuries. I want only to be able to ski with my husband and children and not embarrass myself, or them.
"Avoid the crash," I thought as John's confidence in me grew and he contemplated my tackling a double blue. "NO way. Not trying a double blue. I'll take the other way down." Yes, I'm a sissy and I'm soooo not scared to admit it. But I didn't come down in a basket.
And, as we rode the ski lift up the mountain, with our two girls in-between us, I thought how much time had passed since our first ski trip to Sun Valley in 1996, the year before we were married. I thought how much our life has changed since that trip--I saw the movie reel of our lives fly-by--3 children, 12 1/2 years of marriage, a mortgage, joys, disappointments and life-decisions we've made together. As I looked over at my husband, and our two children sitting between us, I was struck by the fact that while milestones have come and gone, who we are as a couple is largely unchanged.
We have grown. We have evolved. And out of the blue while sitting on the ski lift I hear the song 'America' in my mind and I'm getting teary. Thank God for the sunglasses....and the tears are puddling up in my sunglasses...and I continue to hear the song and I'm thinking it's "His mountains majesty" but in fact the song is 'purple mountains majesty' no mind....I'm living a Blessed life, I think to myself. And as I follow my husband and children off the lift....
I'm very happy to be skiing down the mountain on my own, rather than riding down in a sled, faking a knee injury.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Walking in Her Shoes

Can you wear your daughter's shoes?
I mean, is she old enough that you can conceivably slip on her shoes?
A few weeks ago I was racing out the door and unable to locate my own tennis shoes, I slipped on my daughter's shoes. At the precise moment I put on her shoes I was so happy to FIND a pair I didn't consider that she was old enough to have shoes big enough to fit her Mama. Since the day I borrowed my daughter's shoes I've thought a lot about the new season of motherhood I find myself in. I've gone from lamenting her march toward adolescence to confronting and embracing my new motherhood role. As much as I would like to resist and ignore the season of adolescence upon us I would be doing her (and me, and my husband) a huge disservice if I didn't confront and embrace the natural changes going on with our daughter. Once you slip on your daughter's shoes there is no denying her growth and maturity. She is on the precipice of puberty. Excuse me while I grab a tissue.

During carpool I look over at my daughter who now sits in the front seat and I see a healthy, active (usually happy) tween whose legs are as long as mine, with shoulders just as broad. Our time together these days is different....I try and talk less and listen more. I open my arms to her hoping she'll rush in and as often as she collapses in my arms, she is batting and pushing me away. She is beginning to change physically and mentally. I've known adolescence was on the horizon but until life flings you over the threshold, whether you want to be there or not, a parent can't predict how they will react. As I envision us being thrown over the next threshold of life my daughter is in front of me....her long golden-brown hair is blowing in the wind and her arms are outstretched--open wide, ready to accept the joys and challenges coming her way. In my mind, I see myself behind her and I look like a scared crazed cat. The hair all over my body is bristled. I am disshevelled and reaching desperately for her. I want her to look back at me but she only looks forward, and who can blame her...I'm a scary sight.

I've thought a lot about my visual.....okay, I've been dwelling on my visual in fact. How can I be the person I want to be for her. How can I respond better when she has an emotional outburst. How can I react better to the mantra of "I want" "I want" "I want?" John and I know the power of "No" and use it liberally. Sometimes, however, setting boundaries for your children can leave a parent feeling lonely and isolated. Setting boundaries is a personal family matter. John and I respect other families boundaries. Not all parents do.
I had the opportunity to discuss raising girls and setting boundaries with two friends (both of whom have daughters older than my oldest) during a recent road-trip to Jackson. I respect and admire both of them for varying reasons, most of all because they are resolute and unapologetic in who they are as individuals and as mothers. After our 3-hour discussion I concluded that I was not a scared crazed cat after all. I know exactly what I want for my daughter. I'm not off-base in my boundary setting. I know what I think is age-appropriate. And I'm mindful to respect other families boundaries and parenting decisions. I may not know the correct path through adolescence but I have a duty to my daughter to act like the adult, think like the adult and reason like the adult....at least that's my goal.
And the scared crazed cat? My husband and a few close friends can handle her....they love cats.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A constant battle...

As I sit here tonight surfing the internet, I am so impressed with the amount of information available at our fingertips! Our household has been going non-stop with soccer practice, soccer games, baseball practice, swimming lessons, church and just the normal day-to-day activities...so, when I finally sit down to research a simple topic, I become easily overwhelmed with the amount of information available to read. Makes me want to take a vacation day from work just to sit in front of the laptop and get reacquainted with technology!! I think that is one thing that frustrates the hell out of me...once upon a time I fancied myself with being tech-savvy, only to now realize technology is blazing a trail I cannot keep up with!! I want so badly to be customizing the blog and creating this awesome space for all the MommyDivas to congregate and have fabulous discussions around topics of kids, self, hubbies, careers, and everything in between. BUT, every time I sit down to figure out how to add "We Are Family" as a theme song to the blog, I become so damn overwhelmed with "how tos" and "do it yourself" and all the techi jargon that goes along with the it! So, frustrated I am...I have all of these fabulous creative juices flowing through my head...but, the technology train has left me sitting at the station...and, that completely sucks!! I feel stuck!!

I'm beginning to realize the frustration I am carrying around is...first, I do have a creative side to me and I would LOVE to be able to express it through this blog. I would LOVE to sit and spend hours on the blog adding all of the fun links, lists, videos, tunes, playlists, etc....but, then I get frustrated because of the lack of time I have to devote to those creative ideas. That's when I start the battle in my mind about corporate life vs. non-corporate life...if I wasn't going downtown to the tall office building, sitting in the board room, working on loans, investment management, and all that stuff...I could be tapping into the creative side and doing something else. Then, that naturally leads me to contemplate the lifestyle I love...and then my mind comes full circle..."it's not an option...I can't give up a guaranteed salary for uncertainty. Could I ever have the income stream I have now actually doing soemthing outside of the corporate world"...that uncertainty scares the absolute shit out of me, and makes me break into cold sweats!! So, I stop contemplating leaving the corporate world...although, having a job in this county would be nice...that would be one step closer...maybe?!? Fear steps in...I look away...why?? Corporate is "safe" to me...it's what I've done for 15 years...although, in today's economy, is anything really "safe"??

So, here I sit complaining and not really finding a solution...although, I am trying to create a solution...I'm trying to do both. I'm trying to maintain my career, grow up the corporate ladder...which has recently requested that I become more "involved" in the community...really?? And, with what time would they like me to do that with?? Anyway, while the corporate life is my day job...and, for the record...I do get a thrill out of "getting the deal done". I do enjoy many aspects of the corporate world...and, I do feel I am damn good at it, which in itself is a definite plus. The corporate world has been good to me, and I owe it a few more good years! BUT, being Mom and the creative side is a passion!

I guess this is a constant individual battle we all struggle with at times...are we passionate about what we are doing? Are we doing what we are passionate about? In a time of such uncertainty...I am so thankful to know there is one thing I am passionate about, and I am blessed to be able to be doing it every single day of my life...and that is being my children's mother! So...yes, I may continue to be in the corporate world for an unknown amount of time, and yes, I will probably still try to find a way to tap into my creativity, and yes, I will continue to fight this battle in my mind of corporate vs. non-corporate for who knows how long.

But, one thing I will never complain about and always be passionate about is my kiddos! And...there ain't anything sweeter than my 5 year old brining me a plate of supper then leaning over to kiss his sleeping baby sister that is laying beside me on the couch...God bless these babies...on that note, I believe it is time to "sign off"!

Until later...cheers, my friends!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

MommyDivas like ball too...KY basketball that is!!

WARNING: Content is sports related...YES, we are women, YES, we are MommyDivas, and YES, we know the game!

OK MommyDivas...we are in the heart of basketball season...and rapidly approaching March Madness, and it is a must for these two sisters from the Bluegrass State to let our Wildcat spirit shine!

Bit of background: One does not know the seriousness of KY basketball until you have lived it...and when I say "lived it" I mean your earliest childhood memories are of watching UK basketball games (TV muted and listening to radio announcer) and then afterwards your father actually writing letters to the head coach. Did my father actually send a letter, I have no clue...but, to take something so serious that you would actually sit down and put that much time & effort into it...can we say intense? Definitely intense!! But, I guess it also makes for great stories 25-30 years later!!

And, for you MommyDivas who are not followers of the game...the University of KY basketball program is the only program to have over 2000 wins (UK2K reached this season). They also have 7 National Championship banners hangining in Rupp Arena in beautiful Lexington, KY...and, KY basketball fans are ready to hang another banner....sooooo...the stops came out, Coach Cal came to UK, he brought the recruits and we are enjoying the ride!

With that being said...a freshman (who, yes, I know is a "one and done"...heading to the NBA after this year) by the name of John Wall, came all up in to Lexington making a statement!! This video alone speaks volumes as to the impact this kid (and, yes, he is a kid...hell, he is only 18 years old) has had on Wildcat Country...starting with Big Blue Madness, the first practice of the year.

Enjoy my friends....I guarantee after watching this you, too, will have a little bit of love for the good ol' Kentucky Wildcats! You may even find yourself doing a little jig around the house...I know my son & I have been all night tonight!!

C-A-T-S...Cats! Cats! Cats!



Monday, February 15, 2010

The SHOE debacle....

Most of the time John & I remind me of Jack Sprat and his Wife-- our idiosyncrasies compliment one another and we end up with a clean plate....domestic bliss. Occasionally, our differences lead to domestic deabacles.

For instance....
if John were a better FINDER of articles....
and I were a better PROVIDER of storage containers for said articles, the following scenario might of ended differently.
John was taking our oldest to basketball practice and our youngest wanted to go. After a day home with me (preschool closed) I wanted our youngest to go with his Daddy.
"Honey, he wants to go with you to her practice" I said in the presence of my youngest, mercilessly unveiling hubby's intended destination.
He throws me a glare. A really good one....NOT the best one I've ever seen....but hold on sister.
Having planted the seed that sweet boy would be going with his Daddy, I turned my efforts to the embarrassment that was my kitchen sink. Before I could comment and make my own excuses for the unexcusable mess in the sink my husband, still smarting from being forced to take sweet boy to basketball, walks over to deliver his plate to the sink, and says to my daughter's friend "Like our dishes, Lindy?" We all kinda laughed....
Ok. I failed miserably at the dishes today. Further, I have not enjoyed my day at-home. I accomplished NO household tasks. And, I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of my sweet, precious, very busy son.
"You know, he won't watch tv," I say casually to my daughter and her friend as they eat their dinner. "Nope." I continued, "He's just not interested in television and I just, well, I just can't get anything done while he's home." At this precise moment he scoots into the kitchen singing, "hotdog hotdog hot diggity-dog" possibly because they are eating hot dogs. "Well" my daugther's friends says kindly, "he knows that song so maybe...."
"Oh yea, he will watch Mickey," I say as I do the dishes. "He loves Mickey" my daughter declares "he watches it all the time." "AND the Berenstain Bears and Caillou," she continues. Okay must I be made out to be a liar in my own kitchen? Whereupon, hubby walks into the kitchen and conversation...."Now, he never watches those shows for more than five minutes...." Thank God for Daddy....I suspect he's embarrassed by the pile of dirty dishes also, and he's chiming in to reinforce my excuses on why the dishes haven't been cleaned.....except they aren't excuses, it's just impossible to get anything accomplished with a 3 year-old underfoot.

As I continue to clean dishes, John is getting ready to take the girls to practice. "Son, if you're going with me, you gotta have shoes." The boy could only find ONE tennis shoe.
"Girls, where was he?" I ask quickly, getting nervous that my plan to send the boy to basketball practice was unraveling. My husband goes upstairs and stomps down the stairs--no shoe. Shakes his head. Somehow I've failed again, I think to myself? Because we can't find the f-ing shoe? I look around in the den. Our son is crying big alligator tears, "He gonna weave me Mama." "No honey he's not." I reassure my son.
If that sob leaves this him....I swear...where IS that damn shoe, I think.
As I look around my house--I see lots of piles. A laundry basket turned over--some child wildly trying to find underwear. When I go to my bathroom, I see a basket of pairless socks. Too much stuff in the house. I know this. "Then WHY do you keep buying?" I hear my husband's voice in my mind. In my mind I respond---Because they're growing, that's WHY I buy.
I set-out to find the shoe. I must. I need a couple of hours alone.
I know it is NOT where it should be...by the back door. Yes, we have baskets for the kids to put their shoes in, but they are PILED with shoes....nobody can find a damn thing in those baskets.
The boy is crying....John goes out to start the car....

I hurry upstairs...there is NO way that child is not going with his Daddy. And for my own sanity. I walk into my daughter's room. Church clothes from yesterday on the floor. I pick up her skirt and lo-and-behold THE SHOE. Some "looker" he is!
I march down the stairs. "I've got it....here it is" I yell to John and my boy. As I walk to the backdoor, and triumphantly hand over the shoe I tell my husband, "All you had to do was pick up the skirt. It was right there--underneath." Heavy silence. More silence.
Then I get it.....THE GLARE.
"What?" "WHAT did you just say to me?" He asks in a choppy, unhappy tone.
"The shoe. It was under the skirt." I say casually, looking him square in the eye, arms folded across my chest.
I'm pushing him and I know it....but well, do I have to find everything? The shoe was right there under the skirt. Heaven forbid he bend down and move an article of clothing.
"I can't believe you would say that to me." THE GLARE is in full-force. And I must say, I'm making light but it's kinda scary. My husband's glare could make a grown man run. Of course, my husband is NOT a bully, so I am not scared in the way a grown man would or should be, and I do not run.
I stand my ground and accept the GLARE.
I'm scared only that my words have caused unnecessary hurt between us.

Of course.....had he been better at LOOKING for the shoe....
And of course....if I were better at de-cluttering and providing a PLACE for the shoe...
Well, I suppose we wouldn't be ourselves but it's something for us to consider.
Most of the time our idiosyncrasies compliment one another.....
you know like Jack Sprat & his Wife!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A recommitment...

I am quite surprised I haven't seen another "Where is Sam" post...I know, I know...I have been absent from the blog for quite some time. And, once again, I extend my most sincere apologies to all...especially to my wonderful sister, because she has been so diligient about updating with fabulous stories, ideas, pictures, etc. So, shall I even go down the list of "excuses" and let everyone know where I have been...why not?? We have had some sort of illness in our house since the month of October (3 of those times being Mama herself), we have had the holiday season, the baby girl had a 1st birthday celebration, we have had company from FL, we have had more illnesses, we did escape to North Carloina (Sugar Mountain) for some playing in the snow...only to end up with more illnesses, and most recently I had a business conference in Las Vegas where my fabulous hubby joined me...and, naturally, there are all kinds of great stories and posts that should have happened around each one of these events (as my sister so patiently kept calling me with great post title suggestions). And, each time I would tell her...I know, I know...only to get caught up in the madness of the day, the family, the office...there was always some excuse!!

So, I am now (in my wonderful Baptist way) going to "recommit" myself to Mommy Diva Interchange...no more excuses...one can only hide behind excuses for so long...and that is in every aspect of life...although, I could probably write a daily post on hiding behind excuses...but I won't go there...this ain't Dr. Phil or Oprah!!

With all of that being said...I don't have any funny stories to write about right now...I haven't had an argument with my "bitchy self" over purchasing new luggage lately, and my youngest hasn't called anyone "Balentine" (which is precious)...so, I just thought I would post some pics of the "main events" over the past couple of months...that should get us caught up...

HOLIDAYS @ the COURTNEYS...kids loved the boxes most!

ANNA GRACE turns 1!!!

The Fam in Sugar Mountain, NC

VEGAS...


You, my friends, are officially caught up...I am officially "recommitted"...and the Witner Olympics have officially begun...going to sit back and watch our tremendous athletes go for the gold! GO U.S.A.!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Be My Balentine....


You heard it correctly. My little boyfriend said to me, "I be your 'Balentine,'" whereupon I melted into his arms and....gave in to the second piece of candy. Like other households with young children--we are currently covered in candy, glitter & glue. This year our middle-child insisted on making homemade Valentines for her classmates. I put the blame partially on Aunt Lea, who my children ADORE. She and cousin Luke delivered home-made Valentines to our children last weekend. There was no denying my middle-child the fun of making and giving her own Valentine creations. Further, my older child was very excited to participate in the fun of making cards, albeit for grandparents and not classmates. No Valentine parties for her grade this year...a school-wide decision to keep the nose to the grindstone since classes have been interrupted due to inclement weather.

Sometimes I am reluctant to go the home-made way, in an interest of time and convenience. However, our family has entered a new stage. My older children are mature enough to orchestrate homemade projects themselves(at the very least co-orchestrate). Our youngest who is 3, hasn't learned the art of being judicious with his glitter....but he will learn....and by the time he does, I'm not sure he'll be my Balentine.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Soul Sisters

We are Blessed by many "soul sisters"--those women who give us support, strength, encouragement and inspiration! We list a few friends whose blogs we enjoy and think might be helpful to other Mamas. These women share their motherhood experiences on their blogs and websites. Their journeys include sending and welcoming home(!)a husband to Afghanistan....moving to Madrid with 2 young children...and other meaningful, triumphant and tragic experiences motherhood entails.

We envision MommyDiva Interchange as a COMMUNITY...a place for parents to exchange information. A place for a woman in Idaho to benefit from the experiences of a Mississippi mother, and vice versa. The essence of being a parent transcends age, ethnicity and economics. If you disagree, you can take your cynical ass off our blog, honey...

Check out the fun stuff too...be inspired by the darling (and we do mean darling) applique creations from the girls at Monogram Magic...and you MUST check out our newest Soul Sister, Pink Chicken. This boutique, located in Long Island is owned by a friend of a college friend--super cute clothes via the internet!!

Tell your Soul Sisters how much you appreciate them....we THANK OURS!!!
Holla Holla Vixens....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Me,Myself & I

Do you talk to yourself?
Do you talk to yourself out-loud?
Well, I do.
I remember my own mother doing this. And I distinctly remember furrowing my brow and giving her the "what in the hell" look....and I distinctly remember her ignoring me and carrying on the rest of her consversation--with herself.
Honey, women particularly like to "talk through" things....

I've been talking myself OUT OFF new Hartman luggage.
The conversation in my mind has gone something like this.....
Self: You need new luggage. You can't continue to carry that stuff through the airport.
Hubby: I carry your bags.
Self/Greedy Self: God I love him and I see his fine sexy self carrying my bags....
Greedy bitch self: Just go up to Tuesday Morning and get that fabulous luggage--okay, yes its expensive BUT it looks sooooo f-ing good. And that darling cosmetic tote....And now you have TWO trips coming up. You need it.
Self: No. FIVE HUNDRED is too much for a garment bag on wheels and that's not EVEN the cosmetic bag which is....
Greedy bitch self: You de-serve it. I mean you've reached an age where you can have nice things AND it will last FOR-ever....I see myself walking down the airport terminal, laughing and talking to my friends--I'm pulling the beautiful Hartman bag and the darling (and I DO mean darling) tote is flung over my shoulder. Yep....gotta have it. And if some other hussy goes up there and gets it......
Self: You can't aaaa-fford it.
Greedy bitch self: WHAT!?! (totally insulted).
Self: I mean really. How much is enough? Can't the fact that you're going on two fabulous trips be enough.
GReedy bitch self: Shut that bitch up. Visualize the TOTE....the tote is on your....
Self: Seriously. Grab an American Tourister in a great color--luggage gets so banged up anyway. You bought the bed for ER.....you NEED a piece of furniture to put that shitty tv on...and NOW you gotta have Hartman luggage???? Where does it end?
And, who the fu$! decided Hartman was the end-all be all....My family, I think. They always had Hartman. Nothing would do but Hartman.....
Self (cont'd.): Well, YOU know your limits and don't forget you'll find something on these trips you like....not to mention the cost of taking kids....WAIT.... Dran, who is THE most fiscally responsible person in my family did NOT have Hartman when she traveled the world....I vividly remember now....she had bright red....AMERICAN TOURISTER. "Big Red" She called it. Huh.
Greedy bitch self: Great.....Dockers here we come....
Self: I mean.....maybe the REASON Dran could travel the world is because she chose American Tourister....Dran has always been stylish, and kept a beautiful home and traveling--broadening her world and her grandchildren's--has always been of the utmost importance to her but she wasn't an extravagant person. Practical. She lived within her means. She chose the Tourister because she could get to Isthanbul and Prague just as efficiently and effectively as if she'd chosen....
Greedy bitch self: blah, blah. blah....
Self: And. Even IF I had the fabulous tote flung on my shoulder.....would it make my trip any better or more memorable? No.
Greedy bitch self: ok, maybe a smidge.....u know through the airport....
Self: But over all no--it's the people and friendships that make the trips memorable.
Greedy bitch self: What about the pictures? you know the clothes/accessories for the trip that appear in photographs.....
Self: SOMEONE shut her up.....NO. it's decided....off to carpool.
I'm happy "we" worked through this.

Monday, January 18, 2010

CLUSTER-F%#$



My apologies to my mother, father, their church friends, my church friends and anyone else who is offended by the above title.....
Are you familiar with a "cluster"?
Well, I've been operating in one for about the last 3 years...
Luckily for me, the husband I found doesn't give a damn. I mean, the things I consider to be indicative of living and operating in a clusterF don't register with him.
And let me reassure my mother, who does the white-glove test whenever she visits (Mom, I know you) that IF we are living in a cluster, it's a clean one. Even the mounds of laundry lying around are clean.

Like anything else, there are degrees of clusters.
I'm talking about living a happy, functioning, content life while continuing to ignore important household or family projects.
Those projects that require Mama's attention but she hasn't made time for them.
Children's closets. A Christmas card list. Family photos.
Ditto on the children's baby books....NO, I don't scrapbook. I have keepsakes in a tupperware to give my chidlren. And ONE DAY when I climb outta this CLUSTERF---which hubby laughingly reminds me, is really just 'life'---well, ONE DAY I'll generate the master Christmas card list, and the photos will be organized and the babybooks complete. And EVEN when those things are complete....well....I couldn't be any happier than I am now with my loving husband and children.

So. Maybe I'm NOT in a cluster?!?
Hmmmmmm.
Honey, you know Paula-panic.....she loves to talk herself into a cluster. Bless her heart!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Feast of the Epiphany & Our NIECE'S Bday

January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany AND our sweet niece's FIRST birthday!!!
This morning listening to XM 78-classical (honey, I need something soothing and quiet) I was reminded that today is known as the Feast of Epiphany, marking the Twelfth Night of Christmas. Also known as the day the 3 Kings reached the baby Jesus. As I listened to the radio I was struck by the music playing--Bach's Christmas Oratorio, #6. I was drawn in by its harmony, lively and joyful. Seriously. I got even more excited when the announcer said that Bach's contata was part of a series of six contatas-written and presented in 1734--to celebrarte the Twelve Days of Christmas. In the mind of the church in BAch's time the Twelve Days of Christmas began December 25th and ended January 6. In fact, Bach was the cantor (chief musician) for two churches (St. Nicholas being one) in Germany. He was in charge of music for the worship services of these two churches and the contatas were born. What a babe Bach was! Bach's German congregations were joyfully celebrating the Light of the World we worship today.

As a person who likes history, I find solace in learning about traditions--especially those associated with the church. Living and worshipping today in 2010 we forget that people of Faith have been celebrating and paying homage to the birth of the Messiah for centuries. Are we talking and teaching our children about the origin of traditions and customs that exist today. Do children know that Santa Claus is derived from St. Nicholas, who was a real person that provided food and help to the needy? Not all denominations talk about the Feast of the Epiphany (I was totally unfamiliar until adulthood) but from a historical perspective I think knowing and learning about centuries-old customs helps us prepare our hearts today. Epiphany actually means "manifestation." During Epiphany we joyfully celebrate Christ as the Light of the World, just as Bach's German congregations did in 1734. In my mind, I see our family in the pew at a German cathedral in 1734--I have a big hat on and Buford T. looks a little like an Amish person. The church is dimly lit, by candlelight, and our children are wriggling in the pew. Let's take a page from history and celebrate the Light of the World on the Feast Day of Epiphany!

AND SEND HUG & KISSES to OUR SWEET BEAUTIFUL NIECE on her BIRTHDAY!
WE LOVE YOU Epiphany Baby!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Live @ Nana's...Motherhood Unplugged

Scenes from Nana's...LIVE & Unedited...(JP's commentary is priceless, listen close!)

Hotty Toddy! and C-A-T-S, Cats! Cats! Cats!

Friday, January 1, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR...bring on the resolutions!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR MommyDivas!! As I sit at my kitchen table this January 1, 2010...I am watching my little guy color a box for his little sister and listening to what New Year's is all about through the eyes of a 5 year old...playing Wii games, watching movies, riding his new scooter, trying out his new golf clubs...much, much different than the resolutions that are dancing through my head! Do I dare even mention the resolutions on this MommyDiva's mind...

1. Get healthy! (this includes better eating & a regular exercis routine...I'm worn out just thinking about this)
2. Get organized! (yep...still trying to get the closets tackled, the playroom functional and stuff to Goodwill)
3. Establish routines! (I am the absolute worlds worst at keeping this family in a daily routine...with the exception of Anna Grace's night time routine...outside of that we are living by the seat of our pants, and it drives me crazy! I'm ready for routine...that could help with #1!)
4. Think before speaking...count to 10 more often! (this could really have a positive impact on all of my relationships - hubby, kids, family members, friends, co-workers...losing my cool just isn't cool anymore...want badly to have more effective and positive communication with folks!)
5. MAKE TIME FOR ME!! (I think all MommyDivas need to have this on their resolution lists...so much time is spent focusing on others...our families, our pride & joy...we totally forget to take care of US...stop MommyDivas, stop and take care of you...without you/us everthing else falls apart...SO...we have GOT to make take for ME!)

Now...as much as I want to sit and continue to elaborate on things...my baby girl is climbing on a chair (oops...just fell and bonked her head...but, she bounced back up)...my 5 year old is asking for supplies to "build a castle"...oh, and now he is hungry & little girl is crying...so...folks, it is back to being Mom...the job we love more than anything...I'm already counting to 10...and shooting my husband those looks of "why are you just laying on the couch when all of this madness is going on"...time to count to 10 one more time!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR...Welcome 2010...wishing everyone a year full of blessings, love, health, wealth & happiness!!

CHEERS!