Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pardon the Turkey!

I love this movie.
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And not just for *obvious* reasons.  I have a serious crush on Kevin James.  How could you not love him?  Every movie he is in makes me laugh.

Anyhow, in one scene of the movie, they're sitting around talking about Black Friday and he says, "I'm so not ready for this."

Thanksgiving is in one week.

ONE. WEEK. 

I just voted last week and now next week I'm celebrating Thanksgiving.  This just doesn't seem possible.  I'm so not ready for this.

But you know what's really angering me?

It's bad enough that stores have their Christmas decorations up before Halloween.  But this whole "Beige Thursday" thing is pushing me over the edge. 

It started last year with a few of the stores opening at 10/11 on Thursday.

And now this year, all the stores seem to be doing it!  And they're creeping up their opening earlier and earlier.  Some stores are now open all day on Thanksgiving!?!?!?

What happened to Thanksgiving?

I have shopped every Black Friday since 2004.  Every one.  But I refuse... RE-fuse to ruin my Thanksgiving with cat fights over vacuum cleaners and DVD players? 

ATTENTION WALMART - I WANT MY THANKSGIVING BACK!

I have never - ever - spent a Thanksgiving with Mr. DDA.  EVER!  He's always been out there making sure everyone else has a safe & happy Thanksgiving.

Regardless, it is my favorite holiday. 

I love turkey & gravy.  It's still fall, but the official kickoff of the Christmas season.  I have (most of) my family with me.  And it's without all the hustle & bustle of Christmas Day.  I love it.

More importantly, it's the day, as a country, we thank God for everything He has blessed us with.  It's a day to reflect, remember, and give thanks.  And now, retailers want to disgrace it.  It infuriates me.

And so I'm boycotting Beige Thursday.  I will not spend one cent on Thanksgiving Day.  And I know that my few purchases will not make a dent in their hauls.  Plenty of people will still go stand in line and fight over their Tickle Me Elmo's. 

But to me, Thanksgiving is sacred.  No amount of savings is worth sacrificing that day.











That being said...I will appear with all the crazies around 4 am on Friday at Best Buy, Walmart, Target, etc... scooping up all the leftovers that people have strewn around the store. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

You Are Worth More Than That

So, for the last two months, I've gotten a free magazine. 

I have no idea why.  I don't ever pay for magazines.

And this one should be right up my alley - it was all about being in style.

I grabbed it with glee and began to flip through it.

I should have known that this was not my kind of magazine when this was on the first page:
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Sure, it's just a purse...but it's a purse that cost more than my van.  $23,000 to be exact.

Can you imagine?  Even if I was a millionaire, I don't need a $20K purse.  That's just stupid.

Then, after pages and pages of Louis Vuitton, Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta, and DVF ads, I finally got to an actual article.

How to Dress for Less for Fall

Oh yay - here we go.  So excited.

The writer's budget - $1000 a month.

Say wha?

$1000 bucks a month?  On clothes?

Are you daft?  

Who in their right mind spends that on clothes?  I may spend that in an entire year - maybe.  But a month? 

I'll be the first to admit, I love shoes.  I love clothes.  But those price tags really got me thinking - who are these magazines geared towards and what are they doing to them????
  Most of us do not live in NYC or LA where fashion "really matters."  (Insert sarcastic comment here.) 

The UK is a year ahead of the US in style; and NYC is a year ahead of Virginia.  So we're not really "up" on fashion down here.  If it ain't at Gap or Old Navy - we ain't wearin' it.

These magazines are targeted towards the 20-something new career woman.  Last time I checked, college costs more than ever.  Last time I checked, unemployment was up.  (If you look at the raw data, not that garbage the Dept of Labor manipulates right before the election.)  Last time I checked, wages were down...across the board.

If I was Taylor Swift and making $15,000,000 a year, I might splurge.  But I'm not her.  I live on a budget.  And I have way more important things to worry about than what ex-boyfriend I'm going to bash in my next single. 

These poor girls have lived through Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and Justin Beiber/Bieber...(still don't know how to spell his name and I refuse to Google it.)  To call them impressionable is an understatement.  And now they're being told, from a magazine - mailed to their parent's house - where they still live, that they need to spend a $1000 a month on clothes?

But we have to give these girls a break! 

Teach them how to write a resume.  Teach them that what used to be reserved for a Friday night - is NOT ok to wear on Tuesday to the office.  Teach them how to take 10 basic simple pieces and make it last a month.  Teach them to show up on time and not hung over.  Teach them how to read a P & L Statement.  

Teach them something worthwhile!

Girls - Throw away those magazines! 

Invest in you.  Invest in your family.  Your community.  Your retirement.  Pay down your debt.  Help those in need. 

And since the magazines don't say it, I will.  Dresses, shoes, and bags can make someone look pretty.  But they can never make a beautiful person. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I. Am. So. Blessed.

Wednesday night is my favorite TV night, but I'm foregoing my Ghost Hunters and Restaurant Impossible because I feel like I need to get on a boot box. (My version of a soapbox.)

This summer was trying, to say the least, for Mr. DDA & I. I'll never forget my lowest moment. I was in Target, hiding in the swimsuit section, trying to not run into someone (oh, come on! We all do it.) I was exhausted. Mentally and physically drained. I had this child in a cast. I was running on negative empty.  I couldn't remember the last time I had uninterrupted sleep.  And all I wanted was to run into Target and get one thing.  And I was forced to sit and hide.  And I just lost it.  I had a mini-pity party right there in the middle of the itsy bitsy, teeny weenie, polka dot bikinis.

As soon as I could, I ducked outside and was immediately faced with a young man in a wheelchair who's disability was permanent.  And he was more than gracious to Hannah. They had a special bond, I think.  And I felt "wee-big."

Ever done that, or am I the only one?

We have so much to be thankful for. If you're local, you know one of our Virginia State Troopers was killed in the line of duty last week.  His wife is sleeping alone tonight.

My husbands' best friend from high school lost her 10 month old little boy last month.  Can you even imagine how hard it is to even be in that house now?

Take a moment to stroll Facebook. Pray for Grey, Pray for Trey, Saving Baby Luc...  You could literally do this for hours.  And it doesn't take long to be reduced to tears and be absolutely ashamed at how ungrateful we can be I am. 

I call myself a Christian and yet day in and day out, I neglect to thank my God for breath, health for my children, safety for my husband, food in my pantry, that I have a job...even if I don't always love it. 

I look around and think, "How am I going to afford Christmas?" when there are children who have never and will never receive a single Christmas gift in their lives.  They'll be lucky if they have enough food to live until Christmas.

I look at my jeans, that are thankfully too big, and get frustrated because we don't have the extra spending money to buy new ones.  And there are moms in the Philippines who literally dig through the trash to get clothing for their kids.

I'm not thrilled with the current administration, but I live in America.  People die trying to just get here.  To be what I am.  To be called part of the Greatest Nation on Earth.  I can still go to any church I want.  Be whatever it is I want to be. 

I've seen this status on Facebook a lot:

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And most days, I just scroll through it and think, "Yeah, yeah."  But tonight, I sat in church and I just kept thinking about it.  And my heart became heavier and heavier.

All those people on Facebook, one day their life turned upside down and even if their loved one is healed, their lives will never be normal again. 

And yet, there I was, having a pity party over my child in a stupid cast.  I wish to goodness I could go back to that day.  And hug that person I avoided and bless the man in the wheelchair. 

I may never be a millionaire.  I plan on it, but it may never happen.  I may never be royalty, a senator, a independent business owner,...heck - even a boss. 

But I am me.  I am God's child.  I am blessed, protected, loved, cared for, cherished, and thought about.  The Bible says God thinks about us.  Funny thought, huh?  God thinking about me. 

I don't thank Him near enough. 

I. Am. So. Blessed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Wizard & I (aka BirFday post Vol II)

I am a self proclaimed wanna-be foodie.  Meaning I watch all the foodie shows - Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, Top Chef Allstars, Top Chef Desserts, Food Network Star, Chopped, Hell's Kitchen, Master Chef...

You get the point.

But here in southwest Virginia, opportunities are limited to be a real foodie.  Not that I don't try.  One of my new year's resolutions is always to try new foods & restaurants.  Yet I've never had Foie Gras, Sweetbreads, or Rocky Mountain oysters. 

(Don't know what a Rocky Mountain oyster is?  Google it.  Yes, they eat those - craziness.)

So...for the Pièce de résistance of my birthday celebration, my amazing sister (henceforth known as Trackpants) made reservations at The Spence.

For all of you who don't know what The Spence is, let me clue you in.  My all-time favorite TV chef is Richard Blais.

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Although, Scott Conant comes in at a close second.  But Blais is my true favorite.  I'm a huge fan.  Not like stalker-I-know-your-birthday-and-and-your-favorite-color kinda fan, just a fan.  I watched him on his first season of Top Chef.  And I watched his heartbreaking loss in the final round. 

I had panic attacks every week when he returned on Top Chef: All-Stars.  (By the way, I'm still convinced they only had that season to have Chef Blais win.  He was hands down the best chef ever to be on that show.  He needed a championship ring to go with his bowl t-shirt...sorry, football reference.)

Part of his winnings were invested in opening The Spence - An Eatery.  Anyhow, I digress.

I have been to one of his previous restaurants, Flip Burger, and had the best onion rings and Cap'n Crunch milkshake in my short life.  If you're ever in Atlanta and you want a burger, you must, must go there.  The milkshake was made with liquid nitrogen...it came out with special effects.

Anyhow, Trackpants had the forethought to make us reservations at The Spence for my 30th birthday.  (I know I said that already, but The Spence only opened in May - it's a big deal.)

We get there and it's valet parking.  Ugh.  Valet parking is for Lexus', not Hyundai's or Honda's.  Could've crawled out.  I felt like Duck Dynasty rollin up in there.  But the valets were super fun and friendly. 

The hostesses were young and beautiful...and nice.  (We were late for our reservations.  Usually if you're late - you're out.)  I guess that's the difference between NYC and the South. 

I was dying inside already.

As we walk to the table, Techy goes "Look, Look, Look."  I look around and there stands the Wizard himself at the bar.  I do a double take.  He's in an apron...and looks like he's working. 

Wha?  As with most TV chef's, I imagined they lend their name to the place.  Maybe create a couple dishes for the menu, but they don't actually "work" there.  They're too busy being on Fox & Friends or something like that.  But there he was.  And my inner nerd begins to freak.

Then they seat us.  And we're seated at the chef's table.  And my nerd is now like in full-on Urkel mode.  We are staring into the kitchen.  We get to watch our food being made. 

They bring out rolls...with coconut butter.  I'll let that sink it.  co-co-nut butter!

Then we order starters - some kind of calamari, lobster, shrimp concoction that was fried.  Move over Paula.  Blais wins this round.  Perfectly fried - not too breaded, not too raw, just perfect.

As I peruse the menu, there is rack of lamb, halibut, macaroni & headcheese, foie gras, all kinds of things that are making my wanna-be foodie's heart palipatate.  Mr. DDA orders the Jucy Lucy - a burger and fries.  We drive 7 hours for a burger.  I know; blasphemy.  I settled for the confit salmon with cream cheese mashed potatoes.  Safe for my first foodie adventure but definite something new.


It was out of this world good.  And it came under this Dr. Seuss looking dome that they opened and smoke rolled out.  Bonus points for presentation for sure.  The taste though was insane.  My backwoods, southern roots wanted a little lemon pepper on it, but it was truly perfect.  I'm not totally sure what all that little stuff on top was, but it all went together perfect.

And those cream cheese mashed potatoes?  I wished I had a vat - not a tiny schmeer.  My only complaint.  :)  I savor every bite.

Then, the lovely waitress brings me a complimentary birthday dessert.  Does this look like any blueberry ricotta cheesecake you've ever had?

before & after
And I'm a happy girl.  I've seen the chef, I've watched the kitchen, I've ate, and ate, and ate.  I was so happy.

We're sitting there, waiting on our checks, and all I can think is how great the night was.  Then, over my shoulder, a head appears and says, "Hey.  Happy Birthday!  Thank you so much for coming." 

And it's The Wizard - Chef Richard Blais...telling me...the nerdy accountant Happy Birthday.  Trackpants starts snapping pictures.  I love her.  And he says, "Would you like a picture?" 

I think I said something to the effect of "I eat napkins."  My brain was mush.  My culinary icon was offering to take a picture with me.


The Wizard & I
Then he begins to converse with my family.  Yes, my family.  Like he is genuinely appreciative that we came in.  And offers to take a picture with my family.  Wha?

"Just swappin some recipes" - caption by Techy
And just to clear this up, Trackpants is wearing clothes. 

I thanked him a thousand times...and yes, I'm considering sending a Thank You note

It was a fantastic night.  Better than I could've ever imagined. 

Oh - and for the money part - our total bill was $60.  Oh yeah!  

Thank you Techy, Trackpants, and Mr. DDA.   It was the best 30th birthday week a shoe loving, Football freak, wanna-be foodie girl could ask for.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Birthday Week (Vol. 1)

Last week, I didn't post - but it was an amazing week.  It was SOOOO amazing, I'm going to have to split this post into 2 separate posts.  (Only I could figure out how to celebrate a birthday for an entire week.)

Monday (aka Labor Day) was my 30th birFday (again, pet peeve...it's birTHday, people.)  Mr. DDA had to work.  So it was me & the three kids.  Not exactly my idea of fun.  But then we went to the Virginia Tech/Georgia Tech game.  I'm a VT football freak.  I live & breathe it during the fall.  We had press box passes.  The game was amazing.  We won in OT. 


Aren't We Cute?
Then, came Thursday...Thursday was HUGE in our house!!!
First, it was the Little Man's birthday.  And in case anyone within 5 miles of him didn't know - He turned 5! 

Also, Thursday was the cast removal day.  Yes - you read that right.  Hannah got her cast off.


Finally - after 3 long months...  I was able to cuddle her, hold her, she was able to take a bath...  It was wonderful. 

That night we went to Red Robin.  Red Robin is one of the kids' favorite places (and one of my wallet's least favorites.)  But what was so significant was that we went there the night before her surgery.  And I sat there with tears in my eyes wondering how we were going to do it.  How were we going to make it 3 months?  And then there we were - 12 weeks later.  With it behind us.  With our little girl - mostly healed.  (She still needs prayer though.  She could have to go through this again in 2 years.)

And as if that day could not get any better - Eli came home from school that day and I quote, "I prayed to Jesus and asked Him to come in my heart."  So he had a double birthday.  My cup overfloweth.  I could've died that night without a single regret. 

Then, on Friday, we headed down to Atlanta for my official 30th birthday party.  We had a giant cookout for Techy & Mr. DDA's birthdays.  My sister had a huge dance party.  I thought I would be somewhat disappointed that I wasn't having a party with all of my friends.  But I knew that as much as I loved Mr. DDA, a party planner he was not.  And the pressure would be on him to step it up.  My solution was a weekend with my family in Atlanta.

My sister made the plans.  And it was all a surprise for me.  We were supposed to run my first 5K.  She even made us shirts.

I can't figure out how to download pictures from Instagram.
Thanks to my bad knees and my sister's septic issues, the 5K didn't happen.  But we did run our own 3.1 miles at a local park.  And even though my knees wouldn't hold up the entire time, I finished. 

Then we were supposed to go to the zoo.  But thanks to poopie problems, the zoo didn't happen either.  But a friend opened her pool to us.


So far, you would think the weekend was a disaster.  Actually, it was wonderful.  This is exactly what I wanted.  But about to get even more AMAZING.  The final surprise was dinner reservations at The Spence.

Now, I'm a foodie.  HUGE foodie.  I love all those cooking shows on TV.  But hands down, my favorite TV chef, is Richard Blais.  He won Top Chef: All-Stars.  And with his prize money, he opened The Spence.  And my sister, being the amazing creative person she is, thought to take me there.  It was an amazing night.  One so amazing it needs it's own post.  But here's a sampling.


Then, after dinner, Mr. DDA took me here.

They sell these:


Only £225.00 - Converted to Dollars - $359!  OUCH!
While, I would *probably* never have bought them, I just wanted to try them on.  But alas - they didn't even have them in black so the temptation wasn't even there! But I did at least get to look around.  And pretend I was rich - if even for 48 seconds.

Then church on Sunday.  Did I mention that my sister goes to the same church as Casting Crowns?  Yes, the REAL members of Casting Crowns. 

All in all the weekend was amazing.  So good that I couldn't even believe it.  I'm up 5.5 pounds.  But it was so worth it.  So, so worth it.

See you soon with my review of The Spence! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Art of Thank You

Where has the art of thank you notes gone?

Call me old fashion but I’m a huge fan of the thank you note. And not an email or text, tho’ those have their time & place, but a good ol’ handwritten thank you note.

After high school graduation, while my friends got to slap address labels on pre-printed thank you’s, my mother made me painstakingly hand write each thank you note and address each envelope individually – no labels allowed.

In college, every time I got money or a package – out went a thank you note.

After my wedding – it took a month or two, but every one got a thank you note.

And after the babies – all three of them…

I used to laugh when I’d hear older women comment that “they didn’t even get a thank you” for the shower gift. I’m not that old, but I now appreciate a handwritten thank you.

There is a thank you etiquette that seems to have been lost on this next generation.

You take me out to dinner, you get a thank you. You fix me dinner, you get a thank you. You buy me a gift, you get a thank you. Unless I know you fairly well, you get a thank you for even inviting me over to your home for a cookout.

Mr. DDA grumbles when I send thank you notes with him to work for different things. He considers it “brown-nosing.” I consider it being polite. And if someone wants to call a thank you note brown nosing, they’re probably just jealous that they didn’t think about it first.

Dear new brides & grooms – a preprinted picture of you with “Thank you for your gift” does not a thank you card make.

We “old souls” want to see a real effort. Not just your picture or signature. A card that says “Thank you for xyz. We are going to use to help us purchase our washer & dryer. Please pray for us as we start our lives together. Thanks again.”

Four sentences. With ink. On paper.

It’s time consuming, yes. It’s a nuisance, yes. But trust me, people remember it. Long after you’ve forgotten the gift, people remember the thank you.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Splitting the Check

We all know I’m a bit anal, obsessive-compulsive, flat out annoying about some things.  Splitting the check is one of them.

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When we were poor broke newlyweds, I can’t tell you how many times we would agree to pick up pizza, pay for dinner, etc. with a promise that we’d get paid back and then never would.   We’d end up with a $50 bill to a restaurant that we didn’t choose, that we didn’t like, with drinks we didn’t order…And living off a quarter of a tank of gas and no milk for the next week.

It became a huge hot button issue with us…well, me actually.  I wouldn’t go out to eat with certain people because I knew I’d have to pay for all of it.  And just to be clear, I happily would have, if I could have afforded it.

Last week, we went to a friend’s house for pizza.  (Hi friend!)  We had all agreed to split the cost of the pizza amongst the different families.

And guess what, Ms. OCD forgot to pay!

I totally forgot.  Me – with her anal retentiveness about owing anyone a red cent!

So Saturday, I drove over there and put my money in her mailbox. 

Some people call it crazy. 

It was just $10.

But it was the point.

I detest asking for money.  So unless you owe me more than $50, I’m probably not going to ask you for it.

And I assume the same about others.  No one wants to say, “Ok – let’s pray and eat.  Oh and don’t forget to give me your tab money.”

That isn’t fair.  There are people out there who love to take advantage of others’ generosity.  I’m terrified of being grouped into them.

And I’m talking about the habitual offenders.

The “I’ll getcha next time-ers.”

Last thing I wanted was for my friend to think, “Wow.  We ordered all this pizza and paid for it and Sarah didn’t bother paying us.  That’s the last time we’ll do that with her.”

So, if I owe you money and I’ve forgotten, 1) I apologize; 2) it’s probably from a long, long time ago; and 3) remind me and I’ll pay it. 

Kid brothers need not apply…you owe me wayyyy more than I’ll ever owe you.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Sunscreen Song

If you have never heard this song, you are either at least 5 years older or younger than me...

It was a monstrous hit for the Class of 1999.

And even though I wasn't part of that class, this song has stuck with me forever.

So today, I'm sharing it with the world.  (Or at least the 60-200+ of you that read this blog...)

The Sunscreen Song
Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be
it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by
scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
than my own meandering
experience…I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not
understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and
recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you
imagine.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing
bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm
on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you

Sing

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with
people who are reckless with yours.

Floss

Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes
you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with
yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you
succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your
life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they
wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year
olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.
Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe
you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky
chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t
congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your
choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body,
use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people
think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever
own..

Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for
good.

Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the
people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you
should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and
lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you
knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live
in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will
philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize
that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were
noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund,
maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one
might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will
look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the
ugly parts and recycling it for more than
it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen…




Friday, July 27, 2012

Hannah Update (Vol. 6547896510)

Ladies & Gentlemen

(Ok - who are we kidding?  Thanks to my previous blog about shoes, I have officially ran off the few men that read this blog.)

We are officially halfway.

Hannah has made it six weeks.  Six lllllloooooonnnnnngggg weeks.

But she has been amazing.  Honestly, I couldn't ask for a better patient.

Today was her cast change "surgery."  (It's not technically surgery because they don't do any cutting on her, but it's in the OR under anesthesia...I'm not sure what else to call it.)

I was oh-so-thankful, because let's face it.  6 weeks in a cast that you are expected to never get wet (ahem! bathroom???) 

She stunk!

Love her heart, she stunk.

She was going to get her first full body bath in 6 weeks.  And an x-ray would be done of her hips to see how the progress was going.

Me and my lovely friend, Heather, took Hannah-Banana to the hospital ridiculously early this morning.  (Mr. DDA was watching Thing 1 & Thing 2.)

(I think the hospital staff thought Heather & I were a couple.  They asked me if I wanted my "partner" to come back with us.  Lol!)

We got a mixed bag of results. 

1)  Positive - Hannah's skin in all the areas that we couldn't clean, was holding up nicely. 
2)  Negative - Hannah's skin in her groin area was not so great.  But we can use medication on that.  (Just to defend myself - it literally happened overnight because everything was great when she went to bed.)
3)  Positive - Hips are still in their socket.  (THIS IS HUGE!  All of this would be for naught if they had slipped out.)  And we'd have to start all over.
4)  Negative - Hannah's hip joints are extremely shallow.  We are probably facing more surgery in 2 or so years.  (I'm not even wasting worrying effort on this.  Too much good in my life to worry about something 2 years away.)
5)  Positive - Hannah should be able to walk after her cast comes off.  This would be amazing if true.  Doctor firmly believes she won't need any physical therapy.  Whoop!  Whoop!
6)  Negative - Hannah will require leg braces - but only at night so I'd say it was a neutral.

Over all, I really am happy with the news. 

I can't ask for a better little girl.  She has just been so brave through all of this. 

Her daddy, Mr. DDA (lest the blue eyes give anyone any questions...), has been so helpful.  I'm so proud to call him mine. 

Our friends have been just beyond thoughtful.  The texts, the balloons, the time...  It's been hard trying to juggle who is keeping her what days.  We've had so many people volunteer to help with her.  I'm overwhelmed. 

As I go to bed tonight, I know I've still got a lot going on outside this house that I'm trying to sort through, but I am going to sleep tonight with such a grateful heart.

For all that I have been blessed with. 

For all that I have been given.

And for all of you.

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement.  I'll leave you with a picture of our happy camper in her special carseat.  (Also, loaned from a friend - Thank you!)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

DDA Memorial Run

Most of you know, that I, Sarah DDA, have taken up the sport of running.

I say that lightly because I know true "runners" and they don't consider what I do as "running."

But back in April, we got a treadmill and I started using it.  And I got half decent at it.

Now, to appreciate this, you must understand that this girl didn't run...ever.




(I'm giving an emphatic pause here to let that sink it...)




Not in high school when I was a pretty good athlete.

Not my senior year when I weighed in at a whopping 98 pounds.

Not in college when I juggled a job, 20+ credit hours, playing softball and volleyball.

Never.

So when I worked up to 2 miles, I was downright proud of myself.

Then I blew out my knee.

♫ ♫ Da da dun. No fun.

Since then, I have had to start all over.

With a little motivation from my sister...

She even told me that for my 30th birthday she was going to pay my entrance fee into a 5k.  I didn't even know how many miles was in a 5k.

I do now though.

(By the way, sis, not much of a birthday gift...grumble, grumble.)

But since I won't embarrass myself, I've started "training" for my marathon. (I know it's not actually a marathon...but 3.1 miles IS a marathon for me. )

I had originally asked for these for my birthday...
I know; I know... Where am I ever going to wear these?

 But it looks like I'm gonna need these instead.
I guess they're ok...

Not nearly as pretty as the first shoe, but I'm not sure the "Romance Sandal" would do me much good during my 5k.

So, I think I've figured out how to have both. 

For my birthday, we're going to have a DDA Memorial Run.  (You don't have to be dead to have a memorial event.  What fun is that?)

You can all come; pay a $25 registration fee.  (I'm nice like that.)

And all the proceeds will go towards a wonderful charity that focuses on buying me my new shoes!




Well, I thought it was funny....




Grumble, grumble...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Christmas in July!

Happy Christmas in July!
We celebrated today by listening to Bing Crosby and watching Mickey's Christmas Carol. 
Isn't this one of the BEST Christmas movies?
One year, my most amazing mother put up a small tree and we bought each other gifts from the Dollar Store.  It was a Wednesday night and our house was on the same road as our church.  Everyone who went to church that night saw our Christmas tree in the front window and thought we were crazy.
But all the kids at church thought it was awesome...and it was.
QVC had their Christmas in July this past weekend.  And I hardly got to watch any of it.  (Yes, we've talked about this before.  I'm a closet QVC shopper.  Rarely buy anything but makeup & skincare, but I may or may not know all the hosts names by heart...and even follow some of them on Facebook.)
I did manage to squeeze in the Christmas in July edition of In the Kitchen with David.  Wasn't much different than the regular ITKWD, but it did get me wondering and fretting.
Christmas is 5 months away.  5 stinking months away.
Normally at this time, my Christmas account is fully funded. 
Um...not this year.  Thanks to Murphy setting up camp in our house since January...our savings account is officially at $0.  ZERO!!!
Every year, they come out with a survery that says how much each family will spend on Christmas.  It's usually around $800.  I don't know about you, but I usually spend twice that much.  By the time I do my extended family, supplies, pictures, tree (a live, 9 footer), plus Santa - yeah...it's crazy. 
And it's not the money that makes it Christmas.  I know that.  Santa probably only spends about $100 on each kid.  Compared to a lot of our friends, that's pretty paltry.  (Not that I ever compare...)
I'm breaking out in cold sweats just thinking about it.
I'm considering asking Mr. DDA to work overtime again.  (We nixed it after we became debt-free.  We don't have much family time as it is.  I wasn't giving anymore of it to drunken college students on game days.)
If we don't figure out something soon, I might end up getting a second job.

Preferably NOT at a shoe store...

I honestly don't know how we're going to do it.  But since I will NOT put Christmas on a credit card, the money is going to have to come from somewhere.

So if you're like me, and you realize that Christmas is only 5 months away and you have $0 saved for it...

Expect an update from me on every 25th of the month from here on.  We'll do this together.  One dollar at a time. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Divergent

The other day someone asked me if I had written anything good on my blog lately…

No I haven’t…

I can’t seem to make a single, coherent thought lately.  Of course, it could be because Duffy is whining in my ear, which means that all things must cease until I finish my best soulful rendition of Warwick Avenue
 
And then I think about the British...and then their shoes...and I lose all sense of decorum. 






Back to the present.

My head is reeling.

(Like that?  I’ve been reading a lot lately and that’s a favorite phrase of the author.)

My sister convinced me to read Divergent. 

credit
It’s kinda like The Hunger Games – just without the Hunger Games.  But if you enjoyed THG, you’d enjoy Divergent.  And although I loved Katniss, I couldn’t relate to her.  I couldn’t shoot a bow & arrow if my life depended on it.  If I was left in the wilderness for days, I maybe could survive a week without eating something poisonous.

But in Divergent, I found me - the girl who couldn’t be pigeon-holed into one type of virtue.  Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). 

I’m part Erudite - I’m pretty good at sniffing out the ending of things.  Movies, books, surprise parties.  I think the only time in my life I’ve been shocked was when I got engaged.  (The first time; not the second time.  Wait.  You guys didn’t know I was engaged twice?  Yep.  Long story.  Both were to Mr. DDA though.  I’ll share more on another day.)

Sometimes, I wonder if my brain turns off when I sleep.  I’m always figuring something or someone out.  Maybe that’s why I always wake up tired. 

If I hadn’t detested police work so much, I probably would have made a decent investigator.  But I would’ve had to go to the Feds…I couldn’t stand the politics of a small town department.  (What chain of command???)  My husband has the patience of a saint.  I would’ve been fired…oh, about day 3.  Plus, the hats are hideous.

I’m part Dauntless - My tax law professor begged me to go to law school.  The fact that I can usually tell when someone is lying (just call me Emma) coupled with the fact that I’ll argue with a camel if I know I’m right.  (I’ve argued with other farm animals and Democrats.  AHEM.) 

Come to think of it, I'm not sure I should be proud of this trait. 
 
I’m part Candor – I can be brutally honest.  I try be thoughtful and considerate, but I usually speak before I think.  But I'm working on it.

I’m a tiny little bit Amity – meaning if you catch me on a good day, in the morning, I’ll apologize for crimes I didn’t even know I’d committed...just try to keep the peace.  I kinda even see some Abnegation in that. 

(But actually, the author got that one wrong.  It’s called Southern.)

So, the next time someone calls me difficult.  I’m going to respond, “I’m not difficult.  I’m divergent.” 

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Letter to My Daddy

Daddy,

Today marks 22 years since we almost lost you. 

July 6, 1990 - I was a knobby-kneed, string bean, mousy haired, almost 8 year old little girl who loved her daddy more than anything in the entire world.  It was a beautiful summer day.  We were going to go to the pool.  But all that changed when my mom got the call that no wife, especially that of a police officer, wants to get.

You'd been shot in the line of duty.  You were hit in the neck.  And it didn't look good.  

There's a lot of that day that I don't remember, and a lot that I do. 

I remember going to Aunt Shirley's house and jumping on the trampoline for hours while you fought for your life on an operating table.

I remember finally getting to talk to you on the phone that night and my first question to you was, "Are you in Heaven?" 

I remember the doctor's saying you were a miracle.  The bullet rested on your carotid artery.  How you survived, they didn't know.

I remember the reporters at our little yellow house.  I remember seeing you on the news and in the paper.  I remember you getting awards and honors...meeting the governor. I remember them calling you a hero, and thinking how stupid they were if they just figured that out...you'd always been my hero.

I remember you not being able to sleep.  I remember you fighting to get back to normal.  I remember you put the bullet in a paper weight because you were awesome like that. 

I remember saying to myself, "I will never marry a police officer."  (God has a sense of humor.)

Most of my life, when this "anniversary" rolls around, I would think about how my life would've been without you. 

You would've missed this:

You would've missed this:

Hannah's Birth

Eli's Birth
 
Morgan's Birth



You would've missed Eli's first Hokie football game:


You would've missed Morgan's first vacation:



Daddy, all these years I thought about all the things you would've missed.  

Then it dawned on me.  

These things would have never happened.  

Without you, there would be no Mr. DDA.  There would be no Eli, Morgan, & Hannah. 

My life, as I know it, simply would not be.  

My heart is overflowing with thankfulness today.  Because without you, there would be a giant hole there that no one could have filled.  So many cop kids don't get the chance I got - to appreciate what they have without losing it.  

I know I say it all the time, but Daddy, I love you with all my heart.  I could not ask for a better father, friend, Pawpaw, role model, mentor...  I never could've imagined what these 22 years would have brought. 

I'm so glad God let me keep you.