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Monday, July 30, 2012

10 Sounds That Grate On My Nerves

Since I haven't participated in Monday Listicles in forever and ever and Stasha has suggested we make a list of ten sounds that annoy us, I just had to jump in.  I am a person who greatly cherishes quiet time so coming up with ten nerve-grating sounds should be no problem at all... 

1. Loud coffee sipping. There's just really no need, is there?  I once worked in an office with this off-the-charts crazy guy who every.single.morning. would sit down in his cubicle, just on the other side of mine, with his piping hot cup of coffee and begin sipping it so loudly you could hear him on the other side of the office. I have never been a fan of mornings so it was pretty much daily that I felt the overwhelming urge to get up, walk around the wall to his desk and drop kick that mug right out of his hands.  I can't hear loud coffee-sipping still today without thinking of him.  

2. Sounds the boys make when they're bored or restless. These consist of very loud and obnoxious sounds from their mouths, tap-tap-tapping their foot or some inanimate object at the table, screaming at each other and their friends on XBox Live, and the shouting out of ridiculous words and phrases that make absolutely no sense at all.  It's really a wonder I have even a thread of sanity left in me.  

3. The neighbor's incessant leaf-blowing.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, needs to work a leaf blower that dang much.  

4. Buzzing from flies. A fly in the house makes me a little insane. They're nasty, they're annoying, they freak out my dogs, and I cannot get any peace and serenity whatsoever with a fly in  the room which is why I have mastered the art of fly swatting.  

5. The sound of drilling. Especially if the drill is in my mouth!  

6. The clipping of toenails. I don't know what it is about this but it makes my skin crawl a little..  

7. Alarm clocks. It doesn't really matter what sound it's making.  If it's telling me to get up out of my cozy bed, I don't like it.    

8. Nagging. I don't care who's doing the nagging or who is being nagged, I CAN'T STAND IT! 

9. Music I don't like, especially in the car.  My musical taste is usually quite diverse but if I don't like a particular song, I really don't like it. The boys and I are constantly at odds on this subject. They think I'm so old school for listening to "that 80s stuff".  

10. Howard Stern's voice. 

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Fragments

~Last week I read the best book on my Kindle that I have read in quite awhile... Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.  I highly recommend it.  

~We bought school supplies last weekend and Dracen already has his new backpack packed full and ready to go.  I cannot believe they are starting them back this early but it is what it is, I suppose.  One more week off and then back to the old early morning routine. Ugh!


~The new deck furniture FINALLY came last week.  I had ordered it from Home Depot around the first couple of days of July.  A few days after I ordered it, I noticed that they had put in on sale. I'm talking BIG sale.  I was sick.  So I emailed customer service and they didn't hesitate to credit me the difference since I didn't even have it yet.  It went back off sale before I ever received it.  I'm so glad I noticed it before it was too late! 


~Dracen and Devin were upstairs in the bonus room the other night when we told them to come down and take out the trash.  Devin's neck and Dracen's hands were covered in pen ink!  Apparently Dracen had just busted a pen and decided to smear it all over Devin's neck.  Remember my new furniture?  The furniture we had to cut a new door in the wall to get up there?  Yeah, that new furniture and new's all in the bonus room.  I warned him that it had better not be on anything up there!  He swore it wasn't.  

He lied.  

It was on the arm of the new sofa, the new carpet and on the seat of leather club chair that is not new, but still!!  I stomped downstairs, gritted my teeth really hard and commanded him, through pursed lips, to take the trash out and! 

The ink easily came out of the furniture and carpet with hairspray (did you know that trick?) but he had also somehow gotten it on the hardwood floor in the kitchen and we were not able to get all of that out.  But unless you get down there and really inspect it, you don't notice it much.  

Yesterday I ended up with the ink on my hands and the front of my laptop somehow and could not figure out where it had come from.  Today I figured it out.  He had taken a good box of Kleenex, taped it up with duct tape and then poked holes in it with the pen, I guess until it broke. I had noticed the Kleenox box earlier and picked it up, shaking my head before putting it back down but had not noticed the ink marks until later.  

Never, ever a dull moment around here.

Exhibit A


~I got my hair did Tuesday.  You can't really tell from the photos but it is quite a bit darker than I've had it in years.  I like it, Charlie likes it, Devin looked at me like he didn't know who I was as he blurted out, "what tha?" and Dracen told me I looked weird....  

This is my new hairdo...

This is my new hairdo on humidity...

Now if y'all will excuse me, I have a hot date with a flat iron.

Happy Friday!

Mommy's Idea

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Writer's Workshop....Dog Days

The boys and I have been having ourselves the laziest summer in the history of summers over here.  It may be a good thing that it is getting cut short with less than two weeks left now. That first week back is sure enough going to be one heck of a doozy though.  

Today, in an attempt to break out of my lazy blogging slump, I thought I'd participate in the Writer's Workshop but instead of following the directions and choosing one to write on, I'm going rogue and answering all the prompts, Q&A style...

1. Share one good thing you're looking forward to.  
I am very much looking forward to going back to the town I grew up in in Georgia over Labor Day weekend, staying with my dad, seeing family there and taking the boys to a Braves game.  I am almost embarrassed to admit how long it has been since I've been there but it was before either of my boys were born and seeing as how Devin just turned thirteen, I'd say it's way past time to show them where their Mama came from. 

I am also excited about going to the beach for a long weekend in October when the boys will have two teacher workdays in a row.   We are not taking a beach trip this summer so I thought it'd be nice to go when the weather is not quite so close to the boiling point a little milder.

2.  List 10 things that make you angry. (I'm going to stop at 5!)
1.  Backtalk from my offspring
2.  Dealing with incompetent or rude customer service people
3. Holier than thou attitudes
4. Oblivious drivers(the ones who pull out in front of me, nearly run me off the road by crossing the yellow line, don't use their turn signals...) and fellow shoppers (You know, the ones who park their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle and somehow don't seem to notice the fact that I'm trying to get through and then get pissy when I politely say "Excuse me"? Yeah, those ones.)  
5. Early mornings.  Did I mention school starts back in less than two weeks and I'll have to get up at 6:15 again?

3. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Hmm...I try not to get all down on myself but I suppose if I could change one thing, I would choose to improve my ability to appear less aloof, especially around new people but once an introvert always an introvert, I suppose.  

4. When was the last time you made something with your hands and what was it?  Last weekend I made these Snickerdoodle brownies from a recipe I got off Pinterest, of course. And let's just say, I was glad when they were gone because they were so incredibly scrumptious that the temptation was more than I could resist.  Best new recipe I've discovered in a long time! 

5. Write a post or poem inspired by the word: dreams.
Well, I'm not feeling a poem right now and clearly, not gonna write an entire post so I'll just share this quote that I think is so absolutely true because I think we all have dreams that make us wake up saying, "What the H*** was that all about"?!

Bonus Vlog Option...

6. Do you have a family pet?  Introduce him or to the internet in a video blog post.

Okay, I tried really, really hard to share a video I made a couple of days ago of Charlene Li'l Bit Darling the Dachshund "singing"  with me (though really it's more like a dying kind of yappish howling) and I have thrown in the towel.  I'm brand new to the world of iPhone and am apparently clueless as to how to transfer my videos onto the computer because I just experienced all kinds of technical difficulties.  I'll work on that.  

Instead I'll leave you with my latest photos that all pretty accurately depict how the three of them all of us have been spending the summer.  They don't call them "dog days" for nothing...

Brisco "Big Boy" Darling

Charlene "Li'l Bit" Darling

Lucky the Lemon Beagle Dog

And all together now...

The end.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Have you met her yet?

I finally took the plunge Sunday afternoon by switching from the old, faithful Blackberry to an iPhone and it is like a whole other world in here. As if I needed one more way to waste my time.  I spent pretty much my entire day yesterday trying to figure out how to customize my ringtone.  I don't know why. I'd never had one before.  But, dang it!  For some crazy reason I got it in my stubborn head that I wanted Prince's Raspberry Beret as a ringtone. 

What can I say?  I was an 80s girl and that song starts out with that catchy little beat followed by the ONE...TWO...ONE-TWO-THREE! One would not expect it to be that difficult and maybe for the experienced iPhone user it would not be but I had one helluva hard time figuring that mess out.  I watched tutorials, read "helpful" articles, installed two different ringtone-making apps but remained unsuccessful, frustrated and lost.  Very lost.  

I finally watched a truly helpful tutorial and thought I had it all figured out but for some stinkin' reason my Raspberry Beret was still not there.  So at that point I settled for Little Red Corvette which, don't get me wrong, is a good song and all but let's be honest, it just doesn't start out as catchy and upbeat as the other one and with a ringtone, it's really all about the beginning. Right?  Right.  So after taking a break from it for awhile, I got right back in there and tried again because!

And I am so happy to report that I now have Raspberry Beret  as a ringtone.  

I have also been getting acquainted with Siri.  If you haven't yet met her, you need to fix that real soon because she is all kinds of smart.  I'm talking really, really smart...Super SMART.  Yesterday I thought we were going to have a hard time since she seemed to be struggling a bit with my accent.  Southern accents have always confused the computer voices.  If you have one then you understand what I'm talking about. 

But just a few minutes ago I told her to remind me that Dracen, (pronounced Drayson for those of you who may have always wondered) has a doctor appointment Friday and no lie, I kid you not, she came back with her little reminder and I just about fell over when I saw that she had spelled his name correctly.  Now explain that.  I didn't tell her anything about Dracen and he is not in there as a contact since he is only nine and doesn't have a cell phone yet, (a fact he views as child neglect at its worst). 
I am now straight up impressed and I am rarely straight up impressed about anything.  Nobody ever spells Dracen right the first time and sometimes not even the tenth time.  That Siri is no average computer voice/robot/assistant/person.  She is more competent than the majority of living, breathing human sales and customer service reps that make me cringe each time I have to deal with.  It's bordering on creepy scary. 

A creepy scary I'm totally on board with.  Now if I can just get her to clean the house...

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Friday, July 20, 2012

The Birthday Week

Last weekend we spent three nights in the Smokies, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  I went ahead and gave the boys their birthday money so they'd have it to spend there and it seems they are still obsessed with all things knives.  And jerky. There is no shortage of jerky stores in Gatlinburg so they bought elk jerky, boar jerky, ostrich jerky, alligator jerky, kangaroo jerky...  Who knew people ate kangaroos?  That is so wrong.  But I tried to keep my opinions to myself so as not to rain on their birthday jerky parades.  

We took all three dogs with us.  It was our first time traveling with Lucky the Lemon Beagle and he is not the best traveling companion though he did seem to settle down once we were rolling good.  But slow down a bit and he was all up in everybody's faces and laps with his anxiety dance.  On Friday we actually found a woman who ran a doggie daycare in her home so he spent the day there.  Dear Lord, I thought I lived in a mad house!  She had eleven dogs of her own and a three or four year old boy.  That child probably thinks he's a dog.  But Lucky seemed to enjoy himself much better there than in the cabin with the chillin' Dachsies since she had tons of fenced yard to play in.  

On Saturday we decided to do something we could bring the dogs along on so we hiked a four mile trail that I'm hoping burned off the giant waffle cone of double chocolate brownie ice cream I scarfed down the day before...  
At the beginning of the trail, we were greeted with this WANTED poster...

No luck spotting him, however.

Dracen, Lucky, Charlie and the Dachsies all took a dip in the ice cold Little Pigeon River about halfway through.  The Dachsies were put in by the Dracenator, against their will, and neither of them were pleased about it in the least. Charlie decided he didn't really want to finish out the day in wet shorts so he opted not to go in much past his knees but Lucky and Dracen were another story.  They thoroughly enjoyed their ice water dip...
The day before we road the tram up to Ober Gatlinburg, after waiting in line for a ridiculous amount of time. Lines make me have mean thoughts but thankfully I was able to keep myself in check.  
At the top we visited with Mama Bear and her cubs, some owls, and some otters before checking out the view one good time and getting back in the anger-inducing line to head back down the mountain...
I personally could have sat on one of the two porches and soaked up the awesome view at the rental cabin for the entire trip without any complaints...

But the boys had money burning holes in their pockets and knife stores to explore...
They continued their birthday celebrations at home with Pawpaw Paul who has been visiting us from Georgia all week, homemade brownies with ice cream for the teenager who has never liked cake (how is he my child?) and an orange cake I made from scratch for Dracen, thanks to this recipe I found on Pinterest, and dinner at Red Lobster Wednesday night, complete with a Happy Birthday song from the wait staff.  We didn't see that one coming and received some very dirty looks from the birthday boys over it. 
The cake wasn't the prettiest cake in the world since I seem to have lost my matching cake pans but it was really yummy anyway...
And now I'm going to try not to blink too fast because I get the feeling they'll be turning sixteen and twenty if I do! 

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Nine years ago today boy number two came into my world like a whirlwind and things haven't calmed down yet.  I've said it once and I'll say it again... If you ever hear talk of a tropical storm or hurricane by the name of Dracen, RUN! I've told Charlie that if it ever does happen, we're packing up all our valuables and heading as far west as the road will carry us.  

Seriously though, while he does possess more than his fair share of ideas, energy, and willpower, he is the icing on my cake.  I got that line from my mother-in-law, Pat.  She once used that analogy to describe to someone what it's like to have a second baby. You just love that first one so much that you wonder how it will ever be possible to love anyone or anything just as much.  But just like that, you do.  From their very first breath.

So just as I did in honor of his brother's birthday yesterday, I'm doing the same for him today by listing nine of my favorite Dracen stories...

1. Shortly after we brought him home from the hospital he somehow managed to pee on Darin, myself, Devin and Dexter the Dachsie, all in a single diaper change.

2. Once when he was really little and his big brother was sick (I think he had strep throat) he told me in his most serious voice that he really hoped we didn't have to put Devin down.  I think he had recently heard about someone having to do that with their dog.  I assured him that would not ever be necessary.  

3. He has always had more energy to burn than his brother and me put together and just really wore me down most days when he was a toddler.  Some days I had heard "Mom" so many times I thought I'd collapse if I heard it again..."Mom-Mom-Mom-Mom"...I'd finally say "WHAT, Dracen?!" and he'd come back with "I wuv you".  And my heart would melt every single time.  

4.  He was a little slow to warm up to Charlie in the beginning since he was only three years old when we started dating and was used to it just being the three of us.  But once when Charlie was really sick with a bad head cold or flu he took him an unopened can of chicken noodle soup and said, "Here Charwee, this'll make you feewl better".

5. We took Charlie's boat out to the lake once and when we passed a steam plant he asked us if that was where they make moons.  

6. I know I've told this story here before and I won't go so far as to say it's one of my "favorites" but it is definitely one of my most memorable.  He was very easy to potty train once he made up his mind about it but in the early stages he was impossible about peeing outside in inappropriate places.  I don't know what possessed him this day but I was sitting on the couch when he brought me a Happy Meal bag that he had peed in, leaving a trail of pee down the hallway.  I think I cried.  
7. He always fought sleep with an undying passion and would sometimes go so hard all day that he'd finally just lay his head over on the couch or a chair and fall asleep standing up.  

8. He told me awhile back that when he grows up he's going to have a regular job (he wants to be a Vet) but then on the side, he's going to help homeless people.  

9. Dracen is nothing if not determined and constantly amazes me with the tasks he pulls off. Charlie calls him "The Idea Man".  When he was younger his favorite line was "I do it myself!"  So now whenever one of  us accomplishes a difficult task we can't help but say, "I do it myself!"  

Happy 9th, Dray-Dray!  

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012


On this day, thirteen years ago, I had been in a hospital bed since the previous night and still had hours to go before the forced arrival of my firstborn.  That's right. Today I am officially the mother of a teenager.  And he is every bit as stubborn today (times 100) as he was at the time of his birth, only much bigger in size.  He's just about reached my height (I give him another month or two) and those tiny little baby feet I once kissed and cooed over have long since grown to fill big man-sized kicks. 

There are many things we butt heads over.  Stubborn doesn't fall too far from the tree, if you know what I'm saying.  But even on the worst of days, the ones when it takes every ounce of willpower I have not to pounce on him and tackle him to the ground for his smart mouth, I love him with all the mighty fierceness only a mother's love knows.  

So here, in honor of his thirteenth birthday, are 13 of my favorite Devin stories...

1. He saw a catfish up close before a cat apparently because on his first up close encounter with a kitty cat, he said, "Wook!  He's got whiskas!  Just wike a catfish!"  

2. He never crawled.  Instead he slid around on his belly like a snake, wearing out all his onesies.  I was beginning to get a little concerned but my worries were put to rest when he took his first steps at 13 months.

3. After seeing the ultrasound of his baby brother, he was convinced he was going to be a turtle.  

4. He wanted to wear a hat or baseball cap every day of the week until he was around 9 years old. 

5. His first sentence was spoken around 10 months of age though it took us awhile to figure out what he was saying which was, "Who is that?", only it came out sounding more like "Whoisdat?" He would say it repeatedly when in the presence of someone new. And usually through the pacifier he was almost always sucking on.

6. After his dad died, and then one of our two beloved little Dachshunds nine months later, he got up one morning to tell me he had seen them...He said his dad was wearing a robe, holding Dexter Dog and smiling down at him from above his bed.  

7. When I was dating Charlie he really put him through the wringer.  One day when he was over and we were sitting in the living room, Devin (all of 7 or 8 years old) went out the front door to play in the yard with Dracen but before the storm door closed all the way, he popped his head back through, looked at Charlie, took two fingers that he directed at his own eyes and then at Charlie and said, "I'm watching YOU!"  

8. Once Charlie was accepted he and Dracen wanted him to give them piggyback rides to bed every night, only they called them "piggyride backs".  

9. When he was around 3 or 4, and otherwise shy and quiet around people he didn't know well, he went through a stage where he'd pull out his toy gun when someone came over to the house and say, "Git ya hands up"!

10. We used to have a bedtime ritual that went something like this...
"Goodnight. I love you." 
I wuv you more.
"No, I love you more." 
No, I wuv you more.  But just for the night.
And the next night I got to love him more.  

11. When he was a little guy he was very tight with his money. Once when my dad aka Pawpaw Paul was visiting from Georgia, he was getting ready to head back home and teased Devin by telling him he didn't have gas money to get home and asked him if he could borrow five dollars.  He hesitated at first, then told him he could but that he'd have to pay him back a hundred.  

12. As a toddler I took him to work with me in our florist every day.  When we got there each morning I'd tie a helium balloon around his wrist so I could always see where he was in the shop.  At the end of each day he wanted to let the balloon go and insisted on standing there to watch it until it was completely out of sight before agreeing to get into the car.

13. When he was potty training he wouldn't poop in the toilet until Darin played guitar and sang the special song he wrote for the occasion. We called it "The Poop Song".... Devin's on the potty...He don't wanna be there...Poop...Poop...Poop!  Worked every time.     

Happy 13th, Devin!  

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ceiling Fan Makeover

I never used to be one to sleep with a ceiling fan blowing on me.  I had one at the old house and the only time I ever remember using it was one summer when my a/c went out and maybe when I was pregnant.  So when we moved into this house a little over two years ago one of my first thoughts was that I had to start getting rid of the horribly awful and gawdy brass lighting fixtures/fans as soon as humanly (and financially) possible.  

Yet somehow I still had not gotten around to replacing the fugly ceiling fans in the living room and our bedroom.  My plan for the bedroom was to just get rid of the fan altogether and put a pretty chandelier in there but a few weeks ago I was so dang hot one night  (although the a/c was set on 72 and working just fine) that I, much to Charlie's delight, decided to turn the ceiling fan on. And went right to sleep.  So that's when I started thinking about maybe giving the ol' girl a makeover...
I had seen a few different ceiling fan makeovers online that pretty much all involved disassembling the fan completely and spray painting it.  That was a little more than I wanted to take on so I decided to try my favorite Annie Sloan chalk paint that I've used on several different pieces of furniture.

Monday evening Charlie removed the blades and took it down for me and I began the paint job.  I used French Linen mixed with a little Old White for the biggest part and then just the Old White for the blades.  I'm not going to lie, it was time consuming waiting for each little part to dry before I could turn it to do the other sides and then doing all that over again for the second coats. 

But I am thrilled with the end results...

I used the Elmer's glue and food coloring trick to tint four of the glass shades and bought the center one for less than 10 dollars at Lowe's...

I see it as win-win all the way around.  I saved money not buying a new chandelier and we get to keep the fan, minus the fugly.  

And to think I used to be so cold-natured at night that I slept with an electric blanket and a space heater. Gah! The mere thought of that now makes me break into a sweat.  Time definitely has a way of changing things like the regulation of body temperatures...and ceiling fans...

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