Because 17 candles is a little much....
{we just did eight.}

WooHoo, Presents!

Tim and his little Mama.
{you know you're old when your kid is taller than you!}

Chicken & Dumpling time...
I like this one especially because of Andrew's face (far left)...total hero worship.
{It's kind of scary.}

~Elayna time~
{which, in her world, is ALL.THE.TIME}


Happy Wednesday!
Visit Seven Clown Circus for more Wordful Wednesday posts.



Today, my son Tim turns seventeen. Since he's my oldest, his birthday seems to always knock me for a loop. Takes my breath away. He is seventeen.
I remember being seventeen. Oh my God.
I naturally wanted to talk all about how his birthday makes me feel, and my memories of him being little....but I did that last year.
So, I will just say this. I have enjoyed every minute of being his mother. There have been plenty of ups and downs. He was such an amazing, bright, fascinating baby, toddler, young child. The early teenage years...they were hard. And in the middle of that was my divorce & remarriage. That's when he went to live with his dad, and now he splits time with us, 2/3 with his dad, 1/3 with me. It works. {he will be coming over tonight for chicken & dumplings and birthday cake!}
And to borrow a line from "Butterfly Kisses"....for all that I've done wrong, I must've done something right......because as much as he drives me insane, he is a remarkably awesome kid. He works hard. He values his family. And he loves his Mama.

One more song, for the road......

Seventeen - only comes once in a lifetime
Don't it just fly by wild and free
Goin' any way the wind blew baby
Seventeen - livin' on crazy dreams
Rock and roll and faded blue jeans
And standing on the edge of everything
Tim McGraw



(ok, not really NOW now, but the most recent/decent pic I can find online at the moment.
Also, it makes me laugh.)


Weekend WrapUp: the Walk.

This Saturday was our March for Babies walk. Our team total for donations was $220, so we were only $30 short of our goal, and hope to have a few more donations coming in so that we will hit our goal of $250.
The weather was beautiful and the walk was a lot of fun! We walked 8.6 miles. I'm still a little sore!

Me & John, getting ready to walk

the crowd ahead of us....it was a record turn out this year!

Ambassador Avenue is where parents and preemie babies
hang out to greet and thank the walkers.

Memory Mile is where they put signs up
with names of babies who did not survive.

Memory Mile signs.

The Gator cheerleaders entertained the crowds after the walk was over.
Every year after the walk, we visit Baby JW's grave.

We bring flowers and/or balloons, and leave the roster from the walk.

It was a very nice walk, and it's always wonderful to see the babies who were born prematurely but are now thriving thanks to March for Babies!

On Sunday, we had a Palm Sunday service at our church. Our worship service was held outside, and the rain held out for us. Then we had dinner on the grounds. I made my World Famous Potato Salad.
After that we just relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the weekend!

This is the last week of work before our vacation! Hallelujah!!

Wishing you all a wonderful week! Join in if you'd like....


Hershey's Better Basket Blog Hop

My friend Debby over at Just Breathe gave me this virtual Easter Basket!
There's a really cool concept behind this basket.

Join Hershey’s Better Basket Blog Hop and help to raise $5,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network.

{CMN is one of my soapbox causes! I have volunteered for them in the past & I think they are a wonderful organization!}

Hershey has partnered with the Children’s Miracle Network for over 20 years. CMN is a non-profit alliance of children’s hospitals dedicated to providing state-of-the-art care, life-saving research and preventative education across North America.

This Easter season, Hershey is celebrating it’s new Easter products sold exclusively at Walmart and their legacy of making a difference and Hershey’s will donate up to a total of $5,000 to the Children’s Miracle Network together with bloggers.

How can we do this together? It’s simple:

Participate to Hershey’s Better Basket Blog Hop of giving away virtual Easter Baskets by creating a blog post with specific rules described here.

Hershey Company will donate $10 per each blog post to CMN, up to total of $5,000.

One blog post per URL counts towards the donation, but you can give as many virtual Easter baskets as you want.

The Hershey’s Better Basket Blog Hop will officially begin at 12 AM EST on March 18th and end at 12 PM EST on April 4th, 2010. Blog posts submitted to us before or after that time period will not be counted for.

The blog post link has to be submitted to us for the donation to be counted.

In addition copy and paste the following text in your blog post:


Copy and paste these rules to your blog post.

Create a blog post giving a virtual Easter Basket to another blogger – you can give as many Virtual Baskets as you want.

Link back to person who gave you an Easter Basket.

Let each person you are giving a Virtual Easter Basket know you have given them a Basket.

Leave your link at BetterBasket.info/BlogHop comment section. You can also find the official rules of this #betterbasket blog hop, and more information about Better Basket with Hershey’s there.

Hershey’s is donating $10 per each blog participating to the Better Basket Blog Hop to Children’s Miracle Network (up to total of $5,000 by blog posts written by April 4th, 2010).

Please note that only one blog post by each blog url will count towards the donation.

My virtual Easter baskets are going out to:

My Little Miracles
Crazy Momma
Seizing My Day
Straight from the Heart


Friday Bits and Chunks

Mommy's Idea

It's that time again!
Time to spew out some bits & chunks of my week.
Like puking, only way less gross!
We like to call it Friday Fragments!

* Tomorrow, as my regulars know, we're Marching for Babies. It's a fun event and we always look forward to it. BUT. This year Elayna has a softball game on the same day, so we will have to miss it. She's with her Dad this weekend so she'll get to go, but I'm bummed that John and I won't get to see her play. It's for a good cause though! I'm praying for sunny skies, both for us and for Elayna!

* Does anyone want a dog? Because last night, I literally swept up enough dog hair to make a new one. Note to self: Don't adopt a large dog and then skip sweeping for several days. It will come back to bite you! (not the dog...oh, you know what I mean!)

* I've decided I prefer the term Cupcake Top over Muffin Top. It's just cuter! It's my Cupcake Top and I'll call it what I want!

* I installed my SiteMeter tracker in July. I just recently went over 10,000 hits! WOOHOO! Also I just hit 250 followers. I think this calls for a celebration! Which is good, because I'm going to be doing a giveaway soon. Stay tuned!

* And now, it's time for Facebook Faves!

Little bits of my life, as posted on Facebook.

Cyndy N*** E***: A chef prepared dinner for my children tonight! Chef Boyardee.
(hey, it's been a rough week!)

Cyndy N*** E***: If anything can go well, it will. (I've seen a ton of bumper stickers with this saying recently, and I like it!)

And between my teen daughter and I:
Shelbie ****: BOYS: You can't live with them, but you can't live without them. :(
Cyndy N*** E***: OH YES, you can definitely live without them. I promise!

AND....I don't know why my widget isn't updating, but we're actually at $190 in donations, with a goal of $250. ALMOST THERE!! For those of you who have donated....thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Have a wonderful weekend!
And don't forget to visit Mrs4444's for more Friday Fragments.


Dear Someone!

Today I'm joining in with my favorite Shawty, Shortmama, for Dear Someone letters.

Dear Andrew,
Do we seriously have to have the same "running with sticks" conversation at every.single.softball.practice? Don't you get tired of hearing "I spend enough time at the flipping hospital working, I am in no mood to sit in the ER for hours holding your freaking eyeball in my hand!" ? Because I get tired of saying it. Over and over and over....
Yo Mama

Dear Elayna,
You are on the biggest non-listening kick of your lifetime. It's like I'm speaking Chinese! Do me a favor and take a crash course in the Chinese language before my head explodes!
Yo Mama

Dear Shelbie,
Clearly, I am super cute and fashionable. But fortheloveofGod, STOP wearing my clothes! Seriously, you have your own, and WAY more than I do! Keep your paws off of my stuff!
Yo Mama

Dear Tim,
You're off the hook this week. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Constipated - JUST KIDDING!
Yo Mama

Dear John,
Thank you so much for making dinner while I slept on Wednesday afternoon, so that I wouldn't have to cook when we got home from softball practice at 7:30 PM. You are so full of awesomesauce!
Your Loving Wife,

Dear Daily Shite,
Thanks for posting this....totally made my day!

Turtle-Loving Dysfunctional Mom

Go visit ShortMama for more Dear Someone Letters!



Loved & Lost

This weekend is the big day - John and I are once again doing the March for Babies, in memory of John's firstborn son, Baby JW.
Before my husband was 25 years old, he'd suffered two of the greatest losses anyone can have: he lost his first child, and his father. When I met him, he was still in a lot of pain. I wanted to help him in some way. We visited the baby's grave together. It was my first time visiting the grave of a child. It was so hard to see John's pain. I got the idea of doing the March for Babies. I thought it would be a way to honor the memory of John's son in a positive way.
So, every year, we do this walk. We raise as much money as we can, so that hopefully, parents won't have to experience pain like John's and so many others.
If you aren't walking this year, please donate to the March for Babies. We would love for you to help us reach our goal this year! EVERY little bit counts, and your support means so much to us. I tell John about every single dollar donated and every single comment left, and he greatly appreciates them.
*ETA* If you want to help but can't make a monetary donation, spread the word! Link to this post, tweet it, or share it via Facebook Networked Blogs. I appreciate it!

{Visit Angie @ Seven Clown Circus for more Wordful Wednesdays}


Weekend WrapUp

This weekend was pretty great!
Friday night, my teenagers went to a True Love Waits event with church.
Elayna went to the Gator gymnastics meet with my sister, niece, and niece's fiance.
She had SO much fun, and talked my ears off when she got home. Seriously, my ears fell off and I left them on the floor for a little while just to get a break! Then the dogs started sniffing them, so I stuck them back on.
Saturday morning: I got up at the butt crack of dawn, a.k.a. 8 am. *shudder* It was Elayna's Opening Ceremony for softball. There were helicopters and bounce houses, old friends and new friends, and tons of fun. She had a blast! I took a few pictures but haven't uploaded them yet, I'll probably post them on Wordful Wednesday.
Saturday, early afternoon: John, the Littles and I went to lunch with MIL, and John's aunt & grandma. We were celebrating John's birthday. We had a very nice time.
Then on Saturday, late afternoon, we went back to the rec center for Elayna's first softball game of the season. This time we took Sofie with us. She is so sweet, but so big and intimidating-looking. She got very excited by all the kids and a few other dogs that were there. She only wanted to play with everyone, but her bark is deep and LOUD. She also can pull me hard when she catches me off guard! She is strong! So finally John took her back home. I think people were a little scared of her. Anyway, Elayna's team won! She did well and had fun - the most important thing!
The teens came home on Saturday night and we all had dinner and watched movies, and I made my world famous potato salad and baked a cake for Sunday.
On Sunday morning, I woke up and cooked breakfast, which I have to stop doing, the kids are going to get used to it! Anyway, we went to church, then to my parents' house for the guys' birthday celebration. It was fun, for the most part. It was raining, which meant the kids were cooped up inside, which means my dad gets grouchy and irritable. He's also feeling down because he turned the exact age at which both his mother and oldest brother died (73 years old). I wish he could just feel fortunate that he made it to this age, AND is still in very good health...but that's just not how my dad views life. *sigh*
Anyway. Sunday afternoon, we went home and I went to bed until John woke me up with dinner in bed, the night-shifter's equivalent of breakfast in bed. Then I started my work-week!

Hope y'all had a great weekend! Click below if you wanna join in.


What the French, Toast?!

In my quest for self-improvement, one thing I've been doing is trying to clean up my potty mouth. Among other reasons, we attend church and church-related functions often, and I really don't want to slip up. An ill-timed "Holy Sh*t!" could really cause me some embarrassment.
So I've been doing better. I've replaced "bitch" with "beast" and try to say something like "goober!" to people who cut me off in traffic. (I also really like "douche canoe", which I borrowed from The Bloggess, but it's not exactly G-rated either....)
Oh, and I absolutely LOVE the alternatives offered in the Orbit gum commercial, like "You Hoboken!" and "Son of a biscuit-eating bulldog!"

But my dilemma is this: M*ther F*cker.
No, I'm not calling you a M*ther F*cker. But that's the word/phrase that gives me trouble.
There is just no good substitute for a well-placed MoFo. Nothing else delivers the same satisfaction. Let's face it; "Pickle you, kumquat!" just doesn't pack the same punch.
I'm at a loss! Even Elayna's lame attempts at cursing when she was only two years old, while hilarious, don't quite work: "Holy Mofo!" and "Oh.My.SH*T!" crack me up every time, but aren't quite the same as good old M*ther F*cker.
The only thing that comes close is the memory of my best friend's young daughter's Emergency Room tirade. While getting a nasty cut stitched up when she was two years old, she screamed throughout the ER: "Muddah Puckaaahhh! Muddah Puckaaaahhh beeeeeaaaaaaccccchhhh!"
Maybe I'll try that next time.....


Mood Rings

This afternoon, John, the Littles and I went out to lunch with my MIL, John's aunt, and John's grandma. We went to a steak house that has an ice cream shop attached, and they sell lots of overpriced crappy toys. Elayna and Andrew both suckered MIL into buying them something. Andrew got a fake snake; Elayna got a mood ring.
She's been playing with this mood ring all day. It turns colors like blue, green, red, black, and has a color chart that goes with it to explain the moods associated with the colors: blue means happy, green means calm, red means nervous, black means angry....etc.

So, I started thinking...I wonder what a mood ring for crazy chicks like me would be like.
I'm thinking it would start with RED, for PMSing.
Then you'd have BROWN, for gimme chocolate, STAT.
BLUE: I am definitely going to choke somebody!
YELLOW: Caution! She's going to blow in 3...2...
BLACK: Stay away. Stay far, far away.

What color would your mood ring be right now?


Feels Like Friday Fraggin' Time....

Mommy's Idea

I am so tired it's absolutely ridiculous. TGIFF! (Thank God It's Friday Fragments!)

It's been a busy & exhausting week in the Casa De Dysfunction. And the weekend will be more of the same!
Saturday will be filled with softball; the opening jamboree is in the morning and then Elayna has a game in the afternoon. John's friend's funeral is also on Saturday, and if we can we are going to go.
On Sunday, we will be visiting my parents and celebrating the March birthdays; John's (the 16th), my dad's (the 21st), and Tim's (the 30th).
It should be a fun weekend, and the temps are supposed to be in the 70's. Sweet!

For those of you who asked on this post, John did have a very nice birthday. I did make it a very special night for him you pervs. I made his favorite dinner, lasagna (which was literally the only birthday gift he requested), and a Gator-head-shaped carrot cake.

While blog-hopping the other day, I came across this awesome blog, Pulsipher Predictions. You may recall that I have an affinity for both snuggies, and the elderly. Well Kristina does too, and she's doing something amazing...she is collecting Snuggies to give to the elderly! How awesome is that? I would love it if you'd click the button below and check it out.

Alright. I'm defragged. I hope you all have a great Friday & a great weekend!

Visit Half Past Kissin' Time for more Friday Fragments!


Surgery Q & A

Noelle asked a few questions about my Weight Loss Surgery after my Surgiversary post.
I want to answer them here in case anyone else is interested in the answers as well.

1) My friend had this surgery several years ago and she has experienced some side effects, such as vitamin deficiency. She takes lots of supplements for that but one side effect there is no supplement for is...gas. Terrible, obnoxious, stinky gas. You don't have any problems with that?

I haven't yet had any issues with vitamin deficiency. The only time I have trouble with gas is if I eat something I shouldn't, like greasy food or very rich, fatty foods. It's very few and far between because I limit those foods. When I do have problems, I take chewable Gas-X and it goes away. I have heard of people having a lot harder time with gas, though, so maybe I'm just lucky, but I do have to wonder since you mentioned vitamin deficiency also, if your friend is eating properly. That's so important!

2) How much did you weigh at your largest?

253 pounds. I've lost a total of 120. I am 5'2".

3) Did your insurance cover your procedure?

Yes, completely.

4) Did you have to have plastic surgery to remove excess skin?

I have not had any plastic surgery. I do have some excess skin, but not enough that it's problematic. If I had surgery for that it would be purely cosmetic, and that's not something I'm willing to do at this point. For me personally, I don't want to take the risk of surgery for anything cosmetic. I can't say I won't ever change my mind, but I doubt it.

I'd love to have something like this done but there is no way I can afford it. However, if my insurance covered it...that might be a different story. Also, not sure if I could live with myself if I had gas like that.

It's worth checking into; more and more insurance companies are covering it. It's much safer than it was years ago, and much more successful. Losing weight helps prevent many serious diseases and insurance companies are realizing how beneficial it is.

I greatly appreciate how sweet & supportive you all have been when I have posted about this! Thank you so much for your compliments.
Two of my good friends have had this surgery since I had mine; my very best friend in the world, Danielle, just had hers last month. The first few weeks are the hardest time, but she's doing well and I'm so happy for her. My other friend is almost at her goal weight and is doing wonderful!
I was fortunate to have two good friends who are ICU nurses and had the surgery before I did. They patiently answered my questions and gave me tons of advice. They were my mentors and I'm not sure I could've/would've done it without them. Even two years out I still go to them with questions occasionally. So if I can help someone else the way they helped me, I am all for it! My email is always open if anyone wants to talk to me about this.


John 3/16

Today is my husband's birthday.
I thought I'd list some interesting facts about him.

Did you know....
....that he was born on March 16th which makes him John 3/16?
....therefore his favorite bible verse is John 3:16?
....that he is almost four years younger than me? Yep, I totally robbed the cradle.
....that he is totally hilarious and really does put the FUN in dysFUNctional?
....that when he met me, I was over 100 lbs. overweight, had three small children, major"ex" issues....and he married me anyways?
....that he just may now qualify for sainthood?
....that he promised to never raise his voice to me, and kept that promise?
....that I've only seen him truly angry twice? (neither time at me!)
....that he puts up with a whole lotta crazy from me, and loves me anyway?
.....that we both have tonight off and get to spend it together?
....that he is the most amazing, wonderful husband in the whole world?
....also, the best father and step-father?
....also, I heart him.


Two Year Surgiversary

A look back
If you are newer to my blog, you may not know something about me.
Something big. Literally. heh. Something life-changing.
On February 26th, 2008, I had weight loss surgery. Gastric bypass surgery, to be specific.
It's been just over two years since my surgery. And if you click the link above, "A look back", you can read more about my decision to have the surgery, and the weight loss journey that followed, including some before & after pics. Unfortunately, some of the updates were posted on a weight loss blog which has since been deleted, but there were quite a few posted here as well. I had multiple reasons why I made this choice, and I did a ton of research before making the decision. You can read about that in the previous posts, and I am totally open to questions.
But today I'm posting about, well, today.
I feel absolutely wonderful. Better than I have probably since I was a child or young teenager. Physically, and emotionally. This surgery was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
Also, my immune system is working better than ever. I used to be the person who caught everything. If a sick person came within a mile of me, I caught it! Now, it's the opposite. At Christmas time, a stomach virus ran through the family....everyone caught it but me. They all pass colds around, I somehow manage to avoid it. I very rarely get sick any more...and I work in a hospital, germ central station! (now you KNOW since I'm posting this I'm going to catch ebola or something....)
There are many risks that go along with this surgery, but at this point, I have had no serious problems. I had to learn a new way to eat, and with that comes some trials and errors, but you live and learn. I can eat almost anything I want, but in small portions. However, some things - ALWAYS unhealthy things - make me feel ill, especially if I overdo it. I feel great when I eat right.
Every day I take a multivitamin, calcium, and iron, per doctor's orders. I also take fish oil, per my choice. I may need Vitamin B12 shots down the road but so far my bloodwork has been fine. (if I do need the shots, it's not a big deal to me, I don't have a problem with needles/shots.)
I eat several times a day, small meals, small portions. I concentrate on getting in a good amount of protein, because my protein needs are greater now and I am not a fan of protein shakes/supplements. (ick!) Protein is found in so many foods, and foods that I like, so I don't feel that it's necessary for me to choke down the supplements. I eat the same things that my family eats, but in smaller portions, and I make sure to eat my meat/protein first, then veggies, then if I have room I eat bread/carbs.
I have more energy, and so much more confidence. I am treated different, especially professionally. I am more respected now, which gives me mixed emotions. Naturally, I appreciate being respected and treated well, but at the same time, it makes me sad for that overweight girl I used to be. I'm still the same person, with the same knowledge and abilities, but now I'm treated better only because I am no longer obese. It's not fair.
I could post on and on about this, but instead I'll close; but again, I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have.