Sundays In My City

I am so happy to be participating in Unknown Mami's "Sundays In My City"!
I've wanted to do this for the longest time, and finally remembered to grab my camera today.

Unknown Mami

John and I took a walk today in our little town.
We walked down Main Street, then through the homes of our neighborhood.
Here are my favorite pictures from our walk!

On Main Street....

{this former home is now a restaurant}
{a home}
{a stone peeking out of the foliage}
{old Chevy}
{a cafe}
{"previously loved book" store}


{sign inside the hardware store window}

My neighbor's home...

{how sweet is that sleeping kitty??}
Sofia in our front yard.

*Hope your weekend has been wonderful!*

For Kara

This is dedicated to Sweet Kara Faith, the daughter of my blog friend Nancy.

You're A Special Little Spirit

"You're a Special Little Spirit," the all great Master said,
As he gently caressed the curly blond hair of the Little Spirit's Head.
"you need to go to Earth to spend some time, you know,
A place I send most Spirits to be tested, to learn, to grow.

The Little Spirit, in sadness, slowly bowed her head,
And from her eye a tear did steal and down her cheek it shed.
"Don't you fret now little one, I won't let you stay too long,
I'll bring you back to help me here, You'll hardly know you've been gone.
You're my choicest Little Spirit, you're the apple of my eye."
And he wiped the tear and gently kissed His Little Spirit good-bye.

"I'm back," the Little Spirit whispered, as she climbed onto her Master's knee,
And the Master said, "I told you, you would not be long away from me."
And then, the Lord, He noticed still another tear welled in her eye.
"Why are you so sad, Little Spirit, whatever should make you cry?"

"I'm glad I'm back," the Spirit said, "but Master you must surely know,
When your angel came to get me, I didn't want to go.
I know you said you needed me and that I'd be gone the shortest while,
But Lord, couldn't I have had a little longer earthly trial?"

The Master let the Little Spirit slip down from His knee,
He firmly took the little hand and said,"Come walk with me."
The Little Spirit and her Lord walked slowly hand in hand,
As the Master explained Her special part in the great and marvelous plan.

"Now Lord, I don't mean to argue, I understand you need me home.
But I left in such a hurry, I left everyone hurting and so alone.
I didn't let my earthly parents know how much I loved them so.
I was much too small to tell them, Lord, how will they ever know?
They feel they've been cheated, and in a way so do I.
Not getting to share any more than we did, how can I ever tell them why?"

"Little Spirit, I know your heart is heavy with the message you need to share.
But you need not worry anymore, I'll watch over your loved ones there.
I'll send them loving comfort as a strong and helping hand.
I'll content and give peace to their aching hearts, so they will understand.

The Little Spirit looked up at her Master and said "Thank you for explaining it to me.
And could you please tell them I'm safe and happy and that someday they'll be here with me?"

"Yes," said the Lord with a smile and a nod, "I'll tell them all that I can."
Then the others came to see the Little Spirit, as the Lord let go of her hand.
He said, "I'll tell them you're pure, as pure as Heaven's Gold,
That I needed the warmth of your perfect soul to keep Heaven from getting cold."

Author Unknown


Catching Up

So...I blew it. I blew NaBloPoMo. I can't believe I almost made it and then blew it! Ugh.
I was off on Thursday night, and was SO busy on Friday...that I didn't realize until very late last night that I hadn't even Fragged! A week without fragging is a week without getting my thoughts together. I guess I'll sort of mini-frag today.

~ * Yesterday was the two year "Surgiversary" of my gastric bypass surgery. I'll be doing a full post on that, but I just had to mention it and say, it's been a great 2 years. I feel like a new person. I've had zero problems, and am so glad I had the surgery! I've lost 120 lbs. total, to date, and I feel great!

~* My bloggy friend Nancy's baby, Kara Faith, passed away yesterday. Please keep the family in your prayers. You can read about her here, and I'm sure the family would appreciate your kind words of support.

~* One reason we were so busy yesterday, is that we were preparing for our new family member, whom we brought home this morning! Her name is Sofia, and we are in love. She is a five year old boxer mix and we adopted her from a rescue group. She sits, she shakes, and wags her whole back end when she's happy, boxer style. She is a very sweet girl who was very mistreated, and we're so happy to give her a good life. She's also quite photogenic!

~* OK, I'm off now to enjoy a very low-key relaxed weekend with John & our (pet) zoo.

Hope you all are having a great weekend!


The Grand Scheme of Things

I tend to look at the Grand Scheme of Things, in parenting as well as life in general.
I think a lot of people focus on the Right Now. They forget that we are not only raising children; we are raising future adults.
It may seem that focusing on that would make life/parenting more stressful, but in fact it makes it less stressful. Because when you step back and look at the big picture, you realize that things that seem so huge, so important, so overwhelming....are really not a big deal in the Grand Scheme of Things.
That fit your child is pitching in Target over the toy you won't buy? Right now, you're embarassed, frustrated, exhausted....but in a month, you'll barely remember it.
But the fact that you won't back down....that stays with your child. Do that enough times, you've set a pattern and you've set boundaries. You've taught them a lesson in the Grand Scheme of Things.
The fact that today you just weren't feeling it. You stayed on the sofa in your pajamas eating ice cream, and let your child watch TV all day.
You will feel better. Your child will not remember it. Your child will NOT be scarred for life. It is truly not a big deal in the Grand Scheme of Things.
My philosophy is...you teach them to be the kind of person you wish they would be. You teach them about what is most important to you. You teach them lessons and guide by example. You correct them and discipline them. And then...you let go.
They won't remember every lesson, nor will they remember every failure. The fact that you moved several times due to bad luck, unfortunate choices, job transfers, military service, whatever....will not ruin your child's life. The fact that you worked, stayed at home, divorced, went to school....all of these things are important in the moment. They will affect your child, no doubt. But they are not necessarily, by themselves, the defining moments of your child's life. All of your child's life experiences combine in the Grand Scheme of Things. The good and the bad. They all shape your child. You make the best of the bad things, and make as many good memories as you can. And you LOVE THEM. Because while love itself may not be enough, it is without a doubt the most important thing. Give them your love, and as much as you can of everything else. It all works out in the Grand Scheme of Things.
That's the philosophy of the Dysfunctional Mom....take it or leave it.


Matanzas Bay - Wordless Wednesday

Today, I'm actually wordless. So I'm participating in Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom.
I don't even know what this thing is called. It's the thing that holds the chain that discourages visitors from getting too close and falling in the Matanzas Bay at St. Augustine, Florida.
And that's all I have to say about that.

Happy Wednesday!
BTW, I'm way behind on reading & commenting. It's not you, it's me, and all that stuff.


Sticks & Stones

We've all heard the saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." But the truth is, they will. I still remember a name I was called in middle school. It hurt me so much that I never forgot it, and I won't even write it here. Names do hurt.
But kids call names. They just do. And as parents of four kids, it's something we deal with.
I feel like family life is a constant work in progress, and this is an issue we're working on right now. John and I are trying to clean up our potty mouths, and work on the kids' name calling.
There are some names that are obviously taboo, such as curse words. But some really depend on your perspective, and that's something we're struggling with right now. There are some words that I don't find offensive, but John does; there are some that John does not find offensive, yet I do.
For example, 'doofus' and 'freak'. Are these just silly names? Or offensive words?
You may suggest banning name-calling completely, and while that's not a bad idea, I just don't see it happening. At least not without constant discipline, and let's face it, that's exhausting. And the fact is we've allowed it this long, we can't expect the kids to just become Brady Bunch perfect angels overnight.

So here's where I need your help.

What words are totally forbidden in your home? What names are considered offensive? Mean? Hurtful? And which are considered just silly, playful, typical-kid stuff? I really want to get the perspective & opinion of other people & parents on this issue. Help a mama out!


Wonderful Weekend WrapUp!

This weekend was pretty awesome at the Casa De Dysfunction.

Friday night, Elayna spent the night with my parents. And my son drove around in the car we gave him, which was mildly terrifying. Otherwise, it was an uneventful night. ;o)

Saturday was a beautiful day - finally!! We went to an animal rescue event, where we may have found our next family member. More to come on that later in the week! =D
We picked up Elayna, and ran errands. We made a delicious dinner of homemade chicken noodle soup, watched movies, and relaxed. Shelbie's friend stayed the night.

Sunday was the big day. First we went to morning church service. Then we went home for a few hours, had lunch and did a few things around the house. Tim had to work, but fortunately got off at 4pm; just in time to head to church for the baptisms! John, Shelbie, and Elayna were baptized in a very touching ceremony. Our wonderful pastor chose specific bible verses for each person who was baptized today (my three plus 2 teenage boys). My parents attended, along with my sister, niece & her fiance, John's mother & grandmother, and the kids' dad, step-mother, and baby sister. I was so proud of John & the girls, and I am feeling incredibly blessed right now! :o)
After the baptisms, we went home to watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The crowd shots were incredibly fast, but John and I saw ourselves several times, and the kids once. I think the Wagstaff's house is beautiful, and it was really exciting to watch!

Here are a few pictures from the Baptism Ceremony.

Our pastor...

John & his mother....
Shelbie & Me (please ignore my crazy hair)

John & Me

Elayna with her bible

The End!

If you posted about your weekend, mentioned your weekend, heck, if you even HAD a weekend - link up here! :P~


Missed the Boat

This would have totally been me!
Last week, I totally forgot about a doctor appointment that I had. I write myself reminder notes all the time, all over the place. John is just as forgetful as me; between the two of us we are a total mess!
Today John and the girls are getting baptized...providing we remember to show up, that is!
However, today is my BEST (girl) friend's birthday - I remembered that, and even sent her card EARLY!! WOOHOO!
{Happy Birthday Danielle, I love you!}

Hope you're all having a great weekend!


You Know What's Weird??

Weird is....

....knowing exactly what someone is going to say, before they say it.
This happened when we went to the Japanese steakhouse....while the chef was cooking, I thought, Andrew is going to say that he now wants to be a chef at a Japanese steakhouse when he grows up! And as soon as the thought crossed my mind, Andrew opened his mouth and said "I guess I'm going to have THREE jobs when I grow up - an army guy, a police man, and a chef like him!"

...seeing your ex-husband driving around...in YOUR car!
We gave my son our old car to fix up. It had several things that needed to be repaired and we didn't want to put any more money into it. My ex can work on cars himself, so we thought it would be a good project for him and Tim, who is sixteen now and needed a car. Then, one of the ex's cars broke down, so he was driving our car! We saw him around town a couple of times, picking kids up from school, etc. in our car. Too funny, and....

...dreaming about missing animals.
Today I dreamed I was frantically searching for our chickens. We went to the chicken coop and they were gone! Finally we found them and got them back into the coop, then realized our horses weren't in their stable! We had to round them up too. Why is this weird? We don't have any chickens. Or horses. Or coops, stables...you get the picture. (and no, I don't play Farmville or any of those Facebook games!) My dreams are just totally

What's the weirdest thing that happened to you lately?


Freestyle Friday Fragging - It's an Olympic Sport!

For real - Mrs 4444s said so herself!
Fortunately she's just kidding because I have ZERO athletic ability. I wouldn't even take home the Tin Foil!
Lucky for me, I get to Frag anyway. Here I go....

Mommy's Idea

~* In case you're wondering, I don't watch the Olympics. I've just never really been interested in them. *shrug*

~* I've decided that, with my Friday Fragments, I'm going to start adding in my Favorite Facebook statuses/quotes from that week as well. From me, from others, maybe both. Probably mostly from ME, because it's my blog and I do what I want! So here are my faves from this week, both from me, both from yesterday actually:

Cyndy: Um, insert brilliant, witty saying here. Because I'm too tired to think of one myself.
Today at 7:44am · Comment · Like

Cyndy: Ya know what I love? Bedtime. Both mine, and my kids'. Bedtime's my favorite!
3 hours ago via Mobile Web · Comment · Like

~* This Sunday, John and the girls are getting baptized! We're all very excited & proud.
(in case you're wondering, Tim generally goes to his dad's church, and Andrew is not ready to be baptized at this point & we don't believe in forcing the issue. That's why it's just John & the girls!)

~* Also on Sunday, the episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that was filmed in my hometown will be airing. So look for the Dysfunctional Fam in the crowd yelling "MOVE THAT BUS!!"

~* My friend who lived with us for a little while last year, met a really nice guy a couple of months ago. She assured me that she was taking it VERRRY slow this time around. That is, until I talked to her the day after Valentine's Day...and she told me they're getting married in MAY!! I'd hate to see her version of taking it FAST! lol He seems like a great guy though, and I wish them the best.

~* This year has started out very well for us. Things are just starting to really fall into place, and that's a very good feeling! One for which I am very grateful.

~* Our high temps this weekend are supposed to be in the high 60's. It's crazy that I'm excited about that! Normally that would be too cold, but it's been so much colder lately that high 60's sounds good.

OK, I think I am all fragged out!
I hope you all have a fan-fragging-tastic weekend!

Visit Half Past Kissin Time for more Friday Fragments!


Beauty in Blogging

I got this lovely award from my lovely blog friend Christine at Raised Queer. I love her blog; she is funny and heartfelt, which is a wonderful combination.
I love this particular award and am honored to receive it; thank you again, Christine!

Of course, there are rules that go along with this award. The rules are that I have to tell you 7 interesting things about myself and pass it along to 7 other bloggers.

So, I'll start with trying to come up with 7 interesting things about ME. Some of you may already know a few of these things, but some of you may not.

1. I'm one of those people who is chronically late. I don't do it on purpose. I try to be punctual, or even early. It just never happens!

2. I hate cigarette smoking. I mean seriously hate, loathe, despise it. I may even post all about that in the near future.

3. I haven't had a real vacation in several years...but I'm taking one this year! And I can't wait.

4. My ex-husband and I were in the same kindergarten class. Then he moved to another school and we didn't see each other again until we both started working at Publix Supermarket. I still remember him in Kindergarten!

5. I had weight loss surgery almost two years ago, and it was one of the best decisions I could've made. I'll be blogging about that later, too!

6. When I was very young, I LOVED Barry Manilow. Seriously loved him. When I got older and heard people make fun of him, I was shocked. I thought he was great!

7. I hate feet. I have a serious aversion to them. They are nasty. Just the thought of touching someone else's feet makes me queasy. *shudder*

OK, whew, done with that!

Now, time for the fun part - passing this on! I'm awarding this Beautiful Blogger award to:

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words

Erin @ My Little Miracles

Debby @ Just Breathe

Mama Wheaton @ The Unperfect Mom

Cat @ Juggling Act of Life

ShortMama @ Family of Shorts

Jenn @ Seizing My Day

These beautiful bloggers are some of my most loyal commenters, so this is my way of saying -


Free Pass

This day was trying, to say the least.
We had a new hot water heater installed, which was a noisy process. Meaning my sleep was interrupted many, many times. Which makes for a grouchy mama.
And, is it a full moon or something? Because last night our patients were wonky, and today my kids were wonky. They found every one of my nerves and stomped.all.over.them!!!
So instead of cleaning, laundry, mopping, etc....once I finally got the hooligans to bed....I crashed on the couch. I gave myself a FREE PASS....and I highly recommend it! In fact, you can have mine if you want it!

So...how was YOUR day?


Weekend WrapUp

This weekend, our kids were with their 'other parents'. So we decided to spend Valentine's Day at our favorite place, St Augustine.
We went down on Saturday. It was pretty chilly, but we found plenty of things to do. We did a lot of shopping and a lot of eating!
We hit our favorite spots, and tried a new spot. For Valentine's Dinner, we ate at the Prince of Wales Restaurant. I blogged about that over here.
We did some touristy stuff, like Ripley's Believe It or Not, and some local-type stuff, like seeing a movie one night. (The Blind Side - what a great movie!)

We stayed in a cabin by a lake. The lake is full of ducks, and we brought bread to feed them, which they appreciated!

Mostly, we just relaxed and totally enjoyed ourselves. I took a lot of pictures. I was SO not ready to come home to the daily grind.

Hope you all had a great weekend & Valentine's Day!


End of Innocence

We've been so busy that my Weekend WrapUp will have to be postponed until tomorrow - but it's a good one, it was a wonderful weekend! So be sure and check back in!
Instead I bring you this, with a warning not to let little ones read over your shoulder....it's not X-rated (sorry to disappoint), just innocence-ending. *sniff*

The inevitable happened last week.
Elayna lost a baby tooth, and put it in a bag for the tooth fairy, along with a totally adorable note.
A note that the tooth fairy was required to reply to.
I don't know if I didn't disguise my handwriting well enough, if she maybe wasn't completely asleep when I went in....but the next day, she said to me:
"Mommy, is the tooth fairy real?"
My heart dropped to my feet.
She is my baby, and every milestone step of hers is hard for me. It wouldn't matter if I had twelve more babies, it would be hard for me to watch them grow up.
I tried giving her non-answers "what do you think?"
But she was persistent. She was serious. She wanted straight answers.
So I told her. I told her that the tooth fairy is not real, that I am the one who puts money under her pillow.
I probably should've anticipated the next question, but I didn't.
"What about Santa?"
"No Elayna, Santa's not real either."
"So you and John buy presents and put them under the tree and write FROM SANTA on them?"
"Yep, that's exactly what we do."
I can't even explain how heavy my heart was when we had this talk, or how heavy it is now. I knew it was inevitable, she is nine years old after all. Some of her friends stopped believing years ago, and she knew that. My older kids never asked; they just gradually stopped believing but kept up the act for the sake of the little ones.
But Elayna....she is SO much like me. I very distinctly remember cornering my parents and demanding the truth, just like she did. My dad tried the non-answering like I did, but they finally spilled the beans. And Christmas lost much of its magic for me right then.
I guess that's one reason that it makes me so sad. It's hard to see her grow up and lose the sweet, innocent beliefs of a young child. And realize that the world is not quite as amazing and magical and fantastical as she once believed that it was.


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways......

To my beloved husband....

I love thee because you massageth my back whenever I ask, which is pretty much every day, and I don't have to massageth your back, because you don't liketh massages.

I love thee because you taketh the children to school every day and then picketh them up, and let me sleep.

I love thee because you maketh me laugh, even when I'm grouchy.

I loveth the way we finish each other's sentences.

I love thee because you loveth me, even when I'm grouchy.

I loveth our little inside jokes.

I love thee because you never complaineth. And you sayeth that I am the best wife in the world, even though I knoweth better.

I love thee because you worketh so hard to maketh me happy. And you do it so well.

I love thee because you are YOU, and I wouldn't changeth a single thing.


Ideal Day vs. Real Day

First let me state that on a truly ideal day, I'd be on a beach somewhere sipping something fruity and tropical.
But on a more ordinary, realistic ideal day, it goes something like this:

In the morning, when most of you are getting up, I'm going home. I eat a little breakfast and spend some time with the hubby, maybe even put dinner in the crockpot. Then we go to bed. I get a full, uninterrupted eight hours of sleep. John picks the kids up from school and makes sure all of their homework is done. I wake up and take John to work, drinking a nice cold Diet Dr. Pepper on the way. I put the finishing touches on dinner and serve it to my happy, well-behaved children. After dinner, they clear the table and get ready for bed. I load the dishwasher, feed the pets, do some laundry, clean the floors, get things ready for the next day, take a shower, and then sit down to watch some TV before going to work. At work, the night is steady but not crazy. Only the people I like are working on this ideal day. Work goes well and I get all of my tasks accomplished without any problems. I feel productive. I feel a sense of accomplishment. I am ready to go home and start all over again!

And I love those days. But more often, my days go a little something like this:

Stumble out of the hospital, into the car, and nod off while John drives home. Stumble into the house and crash on the couch while John watches The Steve Wilkos Show. John wakes me up and tells me to go to bed. Again. And again. I finally get up and crawl to bed. When he gets home with the kids, the sudden noise wakes me up. Again. And again. I yell. I crawl under the covers and put a pillow over my head, but my sleep is still off and on. Then John comes in and wakes me up to tell me it's time to get up because Andrew/Elayna/Shelbie has a doctor/dentist/ortho appointment. I stumble to the refrigerator to find that someone has drank my last Diet Dr Pepper. I yell. I take John to work. The kids fight in the backseat. I yell. I remember that I didn't take anything out for dinner, so we stop at the grocery store. The kids ask for everything they see. I yell. I throw dinner together, eating some as I go because I realize I haven't eaten all day. I serve the kids their dinner, and they complain about having to eat vegetables. I yell. I put the kids to bed and collapse on the couch. The kids get up 14, 672 times for water, to use the restroom, or to tell me things that they either could've waited until next week to tell me, or should've told me LAST WEEK. I try to take a nap. The phone rings. I lay back down. Then I remember I never fed the animals. I feed them and lay back down. The dogs start barking at their own shadows. I yell. I lay back down. I remember I didn't do the dishes. I don't get up.
I go to work without a nap. It's total chaos on the ICU. Three patients have just arrived and two more are coming. Everyone needs something and they need it STAT and what they need is more important than what anyone else needs. The phone rings off the hook, the patients hit their call buttons all night long. I yell. All the people who I DO NOT like are working this night. I don't get a break. Nothing goes right. I do not feel productive, I feel frazzled. I do not feel a sense of accomplishment, I feel a sense of exhaustion. I am ready to crawl into bed and stay there for a week!

It's a good thing the Ideal Days and Real Days are usually pretty balanced. I think a week of real days would kill me!!

Tell me about your Ideal Days vs. Real Days.


Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

I just puffy pink heart Mrs 4444's. She came up with this idea of hosting Friday Fragments and takes time every week to organize this for us, although she is a busy wife & mother and a fantastic, caring, inspiring teacher.
What's not to love?

Speaking of looooove...Valentine's Day is almost here! Are you a Valentine's Day lover or hater?
I'm a lover. I know it's a Hallmark holiday, and I agree that you should show your love for your partner every day of the year. But I just can't hate on a holiday devoted to showing love! I usually buy small gifts for my kids, and of course John and I either buy each other gifts or do something special. I figure, there's a day to celebrate Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents, etc....what's wrong with a day to celebrate romantic love?

And still on that topic....I am SO excited about this weekend! We are going to St Augustine, our favorite place, to celebrate Valentine's Day. We're going to stay in one of the cabins that we stayed in once before. It's going to be COLD, but we don't care! We will still go to the beach and stick our toes in the sand. And we'll find indoor activities to do (besides that, you naughty thing!). And we'll just enjoy being in our favorite place!

I am totally panicking about Yaya's blog disappearing. Can anyone tell me what is going on? I'm so worried about Alicia & Josh!

This week is Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week. Please go read Cora's Story, but beware...your heart will break a little.

While we are off celebrating Valentine's Day, I have some posts scheduled so that I don't Blo NaBloPoMo! So be sure to check in this weekend. Also, ask me some questions for my upcoming Q & A post! Mrs 4444's got me started with some good ones, but I need more!

I saw this LOL Cat last night and knew it was going to be a Fragment. I LOVE this!!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend full of LOVE!!