Tea Time!

I have mentioned here before that birthdays are a big deal at the Dysfunction Junction. The celebration usually lasts for around a week. My kids celebrate with their dad, as well as here at home. Andrew celebrates with his grandma and then here at home. Since their birthdays usually fall during the week, we celebrate as a family on that day. Then on the weekend, we have the 'friend' party. We usually get together on yet another day with my family. Sometimes we also send treats in to school, although they're starting to outgrow that.

This time around it was Elayna's turn to celebrate; she turned the big 1-0. It started on Saturday the 22nd at her Dad's house. She came home early on Sunday the 23rd, her actual birthday, and we gave her most of her gifts and had her dinner of choice: cheeseburgers, macaroni & cheese, and asparagus. (Yes, I'm serious.) We had brownies for dessert, with 10 candles stuck in them.

Saturday was the friend party. We have been planning it forEVER. We had a tea party. I posted about the food over at my food blog, Southern Loving, so that this post is not ridiculously long!

There was only one rule: NO boys allowed. John and the boys headed to the arcade in the mall, only to find that it was closed. Permanently. But they found other things to do.

We had real china tea cups & saucers. The girls were asked to come dressed up, and they all did. They all put makeup on each other, and then we had tea. Afterwards Elayna opened gifts, one of which was Just Dance for the Wii. So of course, they played with that until the party was over.

Tea Time!
Cake Time!
Bow Time!
Just Dance!

And now for the finale....my family will be coming over today to give her presents and have (yet another) cake & ice cream.
And then maybe I can get to bed early! Birthdays are exhausting.
Oh wait I forgot.....she requested Sausage & Rice casserole for dinner tonight, and of course, I am complying....so it's time to start chopping veggies. *Yawn*


i got a ward!

Looky here! Alena (ilovethatname!) from Little Bit of Wonderful saw fit to give me this here 'ward. Thank you, Alena!
It's the Stylish Blogger Award! Yeehaw!
(I have to idea why I'm talking like this. It's late, I'm tired. Humor me.)

The rules for accepting this blog award are as follows:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Share seven random things about yourself.
3. Award fifteen other bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers, and tell them about their award!

Here are my seven random things about myself...

1. I love sunglasses but I rarely wear them on my eyes. They are hair accessories in my world. I often squint in bright sunlight, totally forgetting I have sunglasses sitting on my head.

2. I am what you call scatterbrained. I forget stuff, rarely remember small details, and have to leave myself notes on a regular basis. However....

3. When it comes to worrying, I never forget anything, and can worry about multiple things at once. I am a regular pro at worrying! I wish I could hire myself out as a professional worrier. I can stay up all night worrying. I.am.GOOD.

4. I have always been an avid reader. I have seen that a lot of people keep track of how much they read, so I decided to do that this year. I gave myself a goal of 52 books this year, one for each week. We're in week 4 and I've read 9 books. I'm a little ahead of the game! I'm thinking I should have set my goal a little higher.

5. Last night I was cleaning my refrigerator and I cut my hand. Proof that cleaning is dangerous and should be left to the pros.

6. My husband can find an episode of Family Guy on TV at any given time. Hand him the remote, he will find a Family Guy episode. Technically that's a random fact about my husband, but he's MY husband so it totally counts.

7. I love where I live, truly love it, but sometimes I want to move very far away. I feel like Jenny. "Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far, far far away from here." (If you know what movie that is from, you know my all-time favorite movie. So that's like a bonus fact. Maybe that will help make up for this -)

This award is fantabulous and full of awesomeness, but there is no way I'm tagging 15 other bloggers.

(Random Fact #9: I am a rule-breaker. I cut off those tags on mattresses that say not to cut them off under penalty of law. If I see a "POSTED: No Trespassing" sign, I stick my toe just past it. I am BADASS.)

So if you're an award lover, *poof* you just got an award! YAY Go YOU!!!!


A Little Late to the Party....

I'm finally sitting down to write my Friday Fragments post! Last week was uneventful; this week has more than made up for it. And it's not over yet!

Tomorrow is Elayna's 10th Birthday party. It was planned as an afternoon party with only one friend spending the night, instead of her usual sleepover parties. Somehow it's morphed into three friends spending the night tonight, and one of them is spending the whole weekend.
And? Andrew has two friends staying over tonight.
The teenagers aren't here right now, but Tim will be home soon.
It's a good thing I already lost my mind a long time ago.....

Did you hear about Jimmy Buffett falling off of the stage during a concert in Australia? Some people claim that there's a woman to blame, but I think it's his own damn fault.

So far I've received $65 in donations for March for Babies, and it's all from blog friends! That's because you all are awesome. Obviously.

I am, finally, for the first time ever, going to get a professional blog redesign. Head to toe, all of the bells & whistles. If you are a designer or know one who is awesome and doesn't charge an arm & three legs, please let me know!

It's time to order pizza to feed the masses. Hope you all have a great weekend, and don't 4get to visit Mrs 4444s 4 more Friday Fragments!

Mommy's Idea



I got this in the mail yesterday from the AARP.
(that's the American Association for Retired Persons, for you young whippersnappers).
AARP suggests I start making the most of life over 50.
They're about 13 years early.....

However, on the same day, I had to check my teenage daughter out of school for an orthodontist appointment. While sitting in the office of the High School waiting for Shelbie to arrive, I was checking Facebook from my phone. The Dean came through and gave me a dirty look. I couldn't figure out why until I heard the lady behind the desk explaining to her that I was a parent.
She thought I was a student, boldly using my cell phone in the office!

High school student? AARP Member?
Identity crisis much??

Check out these Hot Mamas for more Wordful/Wordish Wednesday posts:



Wordish Wednesday


Three Years Later & Better Than Ever

As many of you already know, I had weight loss surgery almost three years ago.

I have since went from 253 pounds. I now weigh around 135 pounds. I am 5'2".
I was morbidly obese, and I now am at a healthy weight.

I do an update post every year. This year's post is a little early; I have been itching to do it ever since I bought my first pair of skinny jeans last month.

So this year, indulge me. Instead of talking about how I feel and how healthy I am....can I just talk about how FREAKING. FABULOUS. I. LOOK??!!



I can buy clothes off the rack and they actually look GOOD on me!

Not too shabby for 37 years old??

I can wear SKINNY JEANS!!

So....I feel that I have earned the right
to do a little bragging.
And anyone who doesn't like it.....
Kiss This! ;-)

Considering that I used to look like this:

Yeah...I earned it!

As I'm always, I'm open to your questions regarding weight loss surgery. Fire away!


Double Digits

{Elayna, two years old}

Today, my baby girl, my youngest child, moves into the 'double digits'.

She is 10 years old.

And I just can't believe it.

From the beginning, I knew she would be my last child, and I tried to keep her a baby as long as I could.
But she had other ideas. Since she has a sister who is five years older, and a brother nearly eight years older (and later acquiring a brother a year and a half older), she was always racing to catch up.
She knows that she is MY baby, and she loves that. But somehow, she has managed to turn ten years old, right before my eyes. I turned my back for just a second! And now she is in double digits. Sigh.

It goes without saying that I love all of my kids, and I love them equally, but differently. I have a unique relationship with all of them, and a different bond, and different feelings for each of them. They are not less, just different.

Elayna is the most like me out of all my children. We have similar taste in music, clothes, and hobbies. She is the only one of my kids who LOVES to read, like I do. But I think the biggest thing is, we are both babies of our families. In fact, I too have an older brother and sister, who are 7 & 10 years older than me. Elayna also now has step-siblings and a half-sister, but in our home, she is still the baby. I totally identify with her, and I can't help but see her side in arguments with her older siblings. It's not a conscious thing, it just comes naturally to me. I try to be fair, but I am looking at things from a "youngest child" point of view. The older kids say I spoil her and baby her. Um, guilty! I try not to, but I know that to some degree I always will.
She's a very good girl though, truly. All of my kids are great kids, and she is no exception.
She loves school, and does very well in school. She's very mature and responsible. Her teachers adore her.
But she is a little stubborn. Like her Mama.
And a little smart-mouthed. Like her Mama.
And a little overly emotional. Like her Mama.
How can I not spoil her? I get her. She gets me. We are peas in a pod.

{Elayna, 8 yrs old, and Me}

She loves animals as much as her Mama, and wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. Or a teacher. I'm pushing for veterinarian; Mama needs free vet care!

She loves babies like her Mama. She always makes random babies smile when we see them at stores.
Babies and animals love her too. What's not to love? She's just like her Mama! ;-)

We're having her birthday dinner tonight (one of her requests was asparagus!).
We're having her big birthday party next weekend. We've been planning it forever; it's a Tea Party. Girls only, the boys are being kicked out. I will post all about it!

I'm happy. I love to watch her grow up and turn into this awesome little person.
But I'm still a bit sad, that she's not my little baby any more!


Saturday Samplings from Half Past Kissin Time

In case you didn't know, Mrs 4444's from Half Past Kissin Time hosts Saturday Samplings every Saturday.

She links up favorite posts that she's come across over the past week, and invites others to do the same. You can post one of your own favorites, and/or great posts that you've seen around the blogosphere. They can be funny, sad, touching, entertaining....just plain good reads.

I often come across really great blogs during my strolls around the blogosphere. Excellent posts, and sometimes they are from blogs that are new or have a small following. I write myself a note, and then on Saturday, link those posts up so that they get some well-deserved extra attention.

I really love this feature of Mrs 4444's, and I hope you will go check it out! I've linked up four posts this week, including one of my own.


Chocolate: The Perfect Expression of Love.

It's actually been a relatively uneventful week, so I don't have a whole lot of Fragments floating around. Just a few things to share.....

We met with & hired an attorney this week regarding the situation with Andrew's" egg donor". He is totally confident that this will go in our favor (that is, Andrew's favor). He is the attorney who represented John when they established custody previously, so he knows the history. We are prepared to fight this every step of the way using every legal tactic possible, because we so strongly feel that her presence in Andrew's life would be extremely detrimental to him (as does his psychiatrist). We feel much better now that we have the attorney fighting for us!

I have not been feeling well this week and posted on Facebook last night: "Mama needs chocolate!"
When John came home from work, he handed me two Hershey bars. I heart him.

If you missed yesterday's post, Our Story of Loss (why we walk for March for Babies), please check it out. If you are able to give a little to help the babies, we greatly appreciate it! Every little bit helps. And those of you who already donated - I love you! Thank you so much.

Elayna heard this song on the radio the other night and cracked up! I love Brad Paisley. He has an awesome sense of humor.

and don't forget to visit Mrs 4444's for more Friday Fragments.

Mommy's Idea


Our Story of Loss

{Joining in with Shell @ Things I Can't Say for Pour Your Heart Out}

It's that time of year again; John and I are preparing for the 2011 March for Babies.
We do this walk every year, in memory of John's firstborn son, Johnathon Wayne ("Baby JW").

The post below originally appeared on October 1st, 2008. It explains Johnathon Wayne's short life, and the reason we do this walk. You can find more posts about Baby JW here.

Thank you for reading, and if you are able to donate to the babies, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The widget to donate is at the end of this post, as well as on my left sidebar.
(feel free to share the widget!)

You may have noticed the March for Babies widget in my side bar. You may have seen a few references here on my blog to why we raise money for the March for Babies, why we walk every year, and why we are so passionate about this cause.
But today I'm going to tell the whole story. My wonderful husband gave me permission to share this story with you all, and to 'interview' him for this post, because it is so painful that he never before shared all of the details with me. I knew the basics, and not much more. Ten years later, it is still so incredibly painful. But to help bring attention to this cause, and in honor of "Baby JW", I'm helping him tell his story here.

My husband has two sons. One of them I mention often, Andrew, my nine year old stepson. But he has another son, Baby JW. Baby JW would've been ten years old on October 18th of this year. But his life was cut very, very short.
The pregnancy was a 'surprise', but he was a very wanted and happily anticipated baby. It was an uneventful pregnancy. They were thrilled to find out they were having a boy. Then, at a routine ob/gyn visit on October 18th, 1998, they learned that C., the baby's mother, was in labor. She was dilated 6 centimeters. They rushed her to the hospital and tried to stop the labor, but they failed. She gave birth to a baby weighing just over one pound.

His prognosis was uncertain at the beginning. He had respiratory issues, as most preemies do, and was intubated.

They knew it could go either way. But of course, they hoped and prayed that Baby JW would survive.

John's family came in from all over the state to offer emotional support. C and John stayed at the hospital night and day, even after C was discharged. John didn't go to work and they rarely left the hospital. They spent as much time with Baby JW as they possibly could.
At one point, the doctor pulled John aside. He told him that he'd seen something with Baby JW that he'd never seen before. Baby JW never moved....except when John came through the door. The doctor said that even before he was completely through the door, Baby JW started kicking and moving around, and didn't stop until John left. The doctor felt that Baby JW sensed John's presence, and he thought it was amazing.

There were good days and bad days. One day things would look up, the next day he would take a downhill turn. All they had were hopes and prayers.

On November 9th, 1998, C and John were sleeping at the hospital. It had been a bad day. The baby was losing color, and his oxygen sats were dropping.

They were awoken by the doctor and several nurses, all of whom were crying. They told them that the end was very near, and asked if they wanted to come be with Baby JW. John was not able to do it, but C went in. That was the only time she got to hold him. About five minutes later, she came out. It was over; they had lost Baby JW.

John doesn't remember a whole lot about the next few days. His family planned the baby's funeral, a small graveside service. I asked him how did he cope with the pain, but he has no answers. Somehow, he just kept going. It never goes away. It's very hard for him to see pictures or video of preemie babies, it takes him right back to that NICU unit ten years ago. We visit the grave frequently, with flowers, balloons, toys, and prayers.

John thinks of baby JW every day, whether it's remembering his short life, or wondering what he'd be like today.

Every year, John and I walk to benefit the March for Babies. It will never ease the pain, but it is something positive to do in honor of Baby JW, and it helps to prevent other families from enduring this pain. That is John's motivation.

Our walk is coming up November 16th. We don't walk with a team, just the two of us, and last year my kids joined in. We set a small goal; we're not a huge organization. Just a daddy and his family, walking for his baby that never grew up. The stepson I'll never meet. The big brother that Andrew will never get to play with. We will forever wonder who he'd be today.
We would greatly appreciate if you could help us this year. Every little bit helps. The March for Babies has done so much for this cause. Prematurity effects half a million babies & families every year. There are so many stories that are happier than Baby JW's, thanks to the March of Dimes. Can you help us, help other families have a happy ending?

*Note: This year the walk is March 26th, and we are heading up a team for our church members. The only changes I made to the above post were the names: I used to use pseudonyms but I changed them to the real names.*


The Buddhas

Yesterday, John and I had lunch at a little cafe that we had been wanting to visit forever.

The food was delicious. The staff was friendly.

But I fell in love with the bathroom signs.

{Tasty Buddha. Not a compensated posted. Just for fun.}

Now go check out:



Wordish Wednesday


Putting the FUN in Canine Cognitive DysFUNction

a.k.a. Doggy Dementia.

This is about our oldest dog, Suzie. She is a miniature dachshund and she is somewhere around 18 years old. Which puts her somewhere around 126 years old in dog years.
And her mind, it is a'slipping.

This about.com article describes Suzie's behavior so well, I am suspicious that they have been peeking in our windows.

She stands at the hinge side of the door, wondering why it doesn't open and she can't get out of the room.
She randomly walks in circles. Over and over and over.
She gets stuck under things like end tables and Sofia's feeders. She wanders into the closet and stares at the walls.
And we laugh hysterically.
Because truly, these things are funny! She's cute. It's endearing. When you see her running around the house trying to get the little metal decorative table off of her back, what else are you gonna do?
Besides help her, of course. Once you contain your laughter.

She also does things that are not fun. Not funny. Not even a little bit endearing.
Like, her "loss of housetraining". Sigh.

She doesn't respond to commands. We thought she was going deaf, but it appears that she can still hear, it's just the dementia. But the sleep irregularities and barking for no reason? They are the ones that are going to drive me completely off of my rocker. She has combined the two, to save herself trouble I suppose. So when the house is quiet and she should be sleeping, she randomly decides to bark. Except that it's more of a "yelp". It is extremely loud and piercing and makes me want to rip my ears off of my head.
Alternately, I have considered putting Suzie in the washing machine and setting it on SPIN.
(I'm kidding, PETA, and stay off my blog, ya freaks.)
I honestly have no idea when I've slept for a reasonable amount of time. Sometimes, we can quiet her by wrapping her in a blanket and sort of tucking her in to her doggy bed. Sometimes, there is no consoling her. She doesn't like to be petted, picked up, or touched at all, really.
Sometimes, she wakes up the other dogs and they start barking, too. We can't keep her outside so that we can sleep, because I'm afraid she'll wake the neighbors. Even though we are a good distance away from our nearest neighbors. She is LOUD.

She is not in pain. She's just cognitively dysfunctional. The dysfunction is taking over!

There's not much we can do. And I don't feel guilty about laughing at the funny parts, not for a minute. When we were fostering for the dachshund rescue group, I picked Suzie up from the shelter. She had been dumped off by her former family because she was old and they wanted her put to sleep. They weren't willing to pay for it, though, so they just surrendered her to the shelter. There was nothing wrong with Suzie except for untreated worms, which were quickly cleared up with meds. We kept her, thinking she would probably not live long and we didn't want her to be put through the trauma of going to yet another home. And I was attached.

That was about three years ago. She has basically been spoiled rotten for three years, because we figured she didn't have much time left and wanted her to be comfortable and happy. She had her own bed and her own blanket, and she was kept away from the other dogs a lot because they annoyed her. She has lived the good life. And we will continue to keep her comfortable for whatever time she has left here.
I just wish they made Ambien for dogs.

A former foster, Honey, with Suzie.


Pretty Please?

{button by Mamarazzi}

Lately I seem to have acquired several fabulous readers/commenters who are "No Reply" bloggers. Often, they even ask questions in their comments, only I can't answer them.
I worry that they then think I'm rude or stuck-up or something, and then they won't ever come to my blog and leave lovely comments again.

Because often, No Reply bloggers don't know that they are no-reply bloggers. For example, somehow, when I switched my email address for this blog, I became no-reply and had no idea until a kind friend pointed it out to me. But if you're not getting replies to any of your comments, you might want to check. If you are even a tiny bit unsure, you might want to check.

So please, please, please. Follow the steps that Brandy@ You Don't Know took the time to type out so that no-reply bloggers can become start getting replies to their thoughtful comments! I'll be happy, you'll be happy; really, it's a win-win situation. I love replying to my comments (although I am ALWAYS behind on doing so). It can make for some great conversations and closer blog friendships. For me, it's a very important part of blogging, and it's disappointing when I can't do that with some of my readers.

What are you waiting for? Drink the Kool-Aid, already. All the cool bloggers are doing it.

*ETA* You're gonna love this. After I posted this, I posted a comment on a fabulous blog called Life with Kaishon. A little while later, I got a comment from her on this post. She tried to reply to my comment on HER post, and I came up as no-reply! So I checked and sure enough, my box was not checked. I think I figured out why that happened and I think the problem is fixed now but it just goes to show - GO CHECK!!!



The Daily Dribbles

{I am participating in The Daily Dribbles and Domestically Challenged Blognonymous Blog Hop. The post below is not my own post. I'm hosting a post for someone else, and in turn, someone else is also hosting a post of mine, all anonymously. Click through the links below to view all the bloggers and posts in Blognonymous.}

Christmas Crashers

October 2010:
On Facebook:
My little sister posted this on my wall: "Thanks for all the work you did on my pictures...... Mike* and I are getting our plane tickets for Christmas"
To which my sister-in-law replied: "Are you going to your sister's for Christmas?"

December 2010

The excitement, the anticipation, the lights, the decorations, and the time to spend with family-this is part of what entails Christmas for many. Between the kids and I we had the excitement and anticipation part down. We had the lights and decorations ready and we even had some extra family coming into town to spend Christmas with us. My parents and my little sister and her new spouse were going to join us for Christmas. They would be splitting time between my older sister and I, who lives about 30 minutes away. Just a few extra family members felt perfect for me. I don't want a huge crowd Christmas morning. My kids are 6, 4 and 8-months-old--- ages where Christmas is so magical and fun and also a little bit crazy. I would be perfectly fine if it was just my immediate family for Christmas, but was happy to welcome a few more.

My sister and I had many phone conversations trying to figure out the logistics of where everyone would be staying, who would need to cook which meals and other plans which are necessary when there is going to be a large group of people. After one of the many conversations with my sister, I called up my mom to run some of the tentative plans by her.

"Did you know Tina and Aaron are planning on coming to?" my mom asked
"What? Since when?"

I have nothing against Aaron and Tina, in fact I like my sister-in-law Tina more than the rest of my family. I feel like I am always the one defending her and trying to point out her good points. But this was the first I had heard of this and I was pretty sure the first my older sister had heard of it to. They weren't just coming from across town to see everyone, but would be driving for over ten hours to join us... for a week. I asked my mom when Tina and Aaron were coming and she was not sure as it all depended on when my brother could get off work.

I called my older sister and told her the latest development, this was all new to her too.

Where were they going to stay? Was there anything they were going to need? Were they actually going to be here on Christmas Day? These were all questions I wanted answers to as suddenly adding two adults AND 3 kids ages 4 and under would obviously alter our plans just a little.

So I sent a message to my sister-in-law. A week went by... nothing....
I sent another message.. another few days went by.... nothing.

Christmas was quickly approaching. I left yet a third message stating that I heard that they were hoping to come and wondered if there would be anything they would need while here as I wanted to get my shopping done before everyone else started arriving.... still nothing.

Finally on my 4th attempt to contact them, they finally responded. Yes, they were planning on coming, no they still did not know when yet as they didn't know my brother's work schedule and yes they would be there for Christmas morning.

Oh and no-they never once did ask if it would be okay for them to come and stay in our homes.

They just assumed since other family was coming from out of town that they could too and well I guess that there was no need to ask. It makes me wonder if I hadn't called four times if they would have just shown up on our doorstep.

I tried to readjust my thinking, went back to look at the plans and tried and figure out where everyone would be able to sleep what everyone would eat and tried to once again feel that excitement about Christmas.

But I couldn't... all I felt was annoyed. Annoyed that they didn't have the courtesy just to ask, annoyed that I knew we would end up watching their kids a lot ((a whole other story that could take up another post)) and annoyed that they couldn't tell us anything definite so we couldn't make any real plans. I tried to say to myself, it will all work out, it will be fun, Christmas is about family... but it was not working. And then there was the guilt. The guilt that I was feeling bad about them coming. I should be happy right, a chance to spend more time with family.....yeah still wasn't working.

So my older sister and I worked out a second set of plans, the- "in case they come plans", since it was less than a week away and they still didn't know for sure.

Two days before they were possibly going to come and their plans were still not finalized.

Then once again back to facebook.

Tina's updated her status to something cryptic about heading out at midnight to pick up some medicine and not returning until 3 hours later.

Had she been in a car accident?? What had happened? I called her up obviously concerned. Turns out it was just car trouble, car trouble which was going to result in a costly repair ((which of course according to my SIL was all my brothers fault--also another story for another day)). So they were no longer going to be able to come.

And you know, I might have given out a little cheer of joy when I got off the phone. But well... then once again that dang guilt kicked it. Christmas a time for family... right?

(* Names are changed to protect identities of those involved)