Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Favorite Blog Stalkers

I have two blog stalkers out there that never ever comment.  Why don't you two comment?!?  However, I hear they stay up way too late at night stalking me. 

I know why though.  They like my stories!  They have heard a lot of them, and unfortunately have shared a bed with me when I talk into the wee hours of the night about absolutely everything I know.  I'm bad about that - talking all night long when I should be sleeping!  They fill a lot of my stories from when I was young & thin!

Meet Melissa & Elly.  My lifelong best friends!

I met Melissa when I was 7 years old.  This past year we celebrated 20 years together.  She lived down the road & I was assigned to sit in school bus seat with her and her older sister Leslie.  They are both firecrackers - I'm not even joking here!  They have red hair & their eyes are the color of their hair.  They would hide from me on the bus & I always found them.  I am not a rule breaker & I sit where I'm told.  Well - eventually they both fell in love with me.  Leslie is like an older sister & Melissa has always been one of my very best friends.  We have laughed and cried together too many times to count.

We used to spend the night at each other's houses every weekend & Melissa was like a daughter to my parents as well.  She was the one who always got me to do the things I'd swear I'd never do.  She even introduced me to Jade after I swore I was not at all interested - and would never be interested in him - and that I knew exactly what her thought process was in introducing us since she was dating Jade's best friend.  Apparently she was right with that one though!  She is now a wife & mother to 3 kids.  She teaches Special Ed & is going back to school for more education - truly an inspiration to me.  I don't have any desire to go back to school - right now anyway - let alone doing it while working full-time with 3 children! 

Elly and I became good friends in I believe 4th grade, but I think we all 3 became a group of best friends in probably Jr. High.  She was that crazy girl who smeared cheese on her face to get the laughs during lunch & also detentions.  She's a drop dead gorgeous blond & a runner.  Something I completely admire her for because running about kills me - literally!  She too was the girl who was always got me involved in things I swore I wouldn't do - often at Key Club conventions & Church camp.  Places you are supposed to be good & learning things - we were always mischievous & with Elly - there were always boys around!  I'm obviously easily swayed into doing anything when I have my two amigos with me!  Elly is also a mother to a beautiful baby girl & married to the most fit man you'd ever meet!  She gets to stay home now, but was also a teacher that specializes in reading.  I never see her so I stalk her facebook & I saw she's teaching reading college students now how to teach reading to kids - amazing!

With my two best friends - we ALWAYS have fun.  Elly has talked cops into giving us rides home when we can't drive in St. Louis - we'll never forget that one!  We've traveled all over Central IL in my old car Buttercup.  We even got stranded in Mattoon during a huge flood where a scarface man pushed my car out of the road.  We've taken girls trips where we continually laugh our butts off!  Elly usually works up the most ridiculous bachelorette party dares you'd ever feast your eyes on.  Then she makes you follow through on those dares until you are sooo very embarrassed with yourself!

We don't see or talk with each other enough.  Melissa lives in my same town - so you'd think we'd hang out more often, but it's hard with little kids.  Elly lives 5 hours away so when she's in town we savor our time together & our husbands for some reason - understand that we need that time!  When we get together - it's like we were never apart!  We are still those ridiculously immature girls again!  We do anything for a laugh & with just a tad bit of alcohol in our systems - we build pyramids together!

I wish I could think of more of our stories, but there are far too many in the many years we have been ridiculous together!  I definitely miss these girls & I'm ready for our 10 year class reunion this summer!  It's another excuse for Elly to head back to the 'Ville to visit!  Maybe this time Melissa & I can put her up in an extension to a twist cradle (that's for all those old school cheerleaders out there)!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Heartfelt Apology

Oh my dear blog followers, please don't be mad at me.

Rejoice with me instead.

Because I am in a car, headed junking!  That's right - I'm junking with my two sisters in the St. Louis region & we're going to have a blast.

I hope I see a little of this

and I won't even be scared if I see a little of this too!

I can't stop laughing at this picture b/c this is so much like the dives my sisters & I go to in town!

The higher stacked the junk the better!  I can't wait to find some treasures for my humble abode as well as some loot to refab for Ethel Edith.

Aging Gracefully

This is my pug Trudie Claudette.

She was very young and svelte here.  This is before we had kids.  She was our only baby.  I guess I looked young and svelte at that point in my life too!

I adopted her in January when I was 20 years old.  She was 6 months old, and she weighed just a few pounds.  The people I adopted her from had paid good money for her.  I know this because my Mom used to breed pugs, and they were never cheap - think $300+.  However, they paid good money for her - only to abuse her.  I picked her up at their house.  They had left her collar on until it was so tight - she had no hair around her neck.  She was teeny tiny for her age, only skin & bones.  Her hair was coarse, she was terrified, and her legs & tail were a bit odd shaped from being in her tiny cage full-time.  They should have been ashamed of themselves - they had 3 kids - and their kids would have been taken away from them if they were treated in this manner.  Instead - they were happy thrilled to be rid of her.  Now that I'm more grown up - thinking about it really makes me angry - Mom knows what I mean b/c she saw it with me.

I took her home & she got sick the first night I had her.  She ate so much food - I felt awful for her.  I then moved her with me to Carbondale.  I illegally smuggled her into my apartment complex from January to August.  Then in August - I smuggled her into my next house.  She became my baby.  I dressed her up for Halloween.  However, her bikini didn't quite cover her 9 nipples - yes I said 9 - she has one extra!

She was my copilot in life.  When I drove the 2 hours to school - she rode the entire way sleeping on my lap.  Since then she has moved back to Shelbyville from Carbondale.  She lived with me and my parents and then moved in with Jade when we got married.  She daily went to my Mom's to be babysat when I worked too far from town.  Then she moved to our new house.  She will be 8 years old this summer, and is starting to really show her age.  Her black hair is turning gray.  She is gray on her face, her feet, her body & even her tail.  I worry more about her than I ever have.  She's still petite at about 16 lbs, which is never enough to back up a fight with a 2 year old wild boy. 

She is a 5 state retired model.  That's right, she used to model dog sweaters in the weekly Rural King flier.  She is super sassy.  If you come to visit our house she'll bark at you like a piranha, but sit on your lap the entire visit, only to bark at you like a maniac again when you leave.  She's very spoiled.  If it is hot, or cold, or rainy she doesn't want to go outside & must be forced out.  Even at 8 - she can not be trusted with her pottying.  I again blame her original parents for this.  You must force her out or you may get a tootsie surprise in the basement - the only thing I truly hate that she does!  Overall - she's still my baby.  I dread the day she passes, but until then I will share my popcorn with her & spoon her in bed as much as possible!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sweet Babies Cause Cankles

OK I'm cracking up that I'm even sharing these with you!  You must be VERY close friends to witness what I'm about to post.

I have talked a bit about my pregnancies.  I told you I gained a whopping 66 pounds with Aubrie - I think around 40 with Ev.  However - side note - I am back to my old weight (I'd say size, but my muscle disappeared) - yeah me!  So behold - me in all my large glory!  A post all about huge Annie!

December 2005

This was right before I had Aubrie.  I was trying to hide from the camera - can you believe I thought I could hide!  My head is literally like 1/4 the size of my belly - let alone my body!  My hand is all swollen like a marshmallow with no joints in it.  You'll see later that I get huge when I'm pregnant & I can only fit into these jeans & the orange tank top beneath that hoodie.  It's a nice look I know.  Maggie looks pretty righteous here as well.  Isn't Trudie young & tiny - gosh Trudie what happened?!?

These are my feet while I'm waiting on Aubrie to arrive.  Yes - my size 6.5 feet looked like this!  Check out the ankle folds!  This is something they don't tell you about having kids - your feet may swell - yes they share that - but they never say they may swell this huge.  You'll get foot rubs every night, but it will hurt soooo bad you'll want to bawl!  Unfortunately for me - my feet were this size for probably 2 months leading to December and I couldn't fit my ankles into size 11 snow boots - seriously?!?  Worse off my legs were swollen to my knees - I have knee stretch marks - really what the crap!  Hello ugly brown crocs in the snow with black dress pants & spare socks in your purse - yes I rocked that style religiously to work!  I was one not so hot mama!

This is Aubrie, my beautiful 7lb 12 oz 20 1/2" baby on December 20th.  She was just so pretty with her dark hair.  They induced me 2 weeks early with her - because I was so huge!  She was really due January 1st.  She was still a decent sized baby for 2 weeks early!

Here she is at her baptism at 2 months rocking her crazy monkey hair.  She wore her great, great grandpa Jack's gown -it was very special.

August 2007

Here I am again - this time with Everett - rocking out my too tight of jeans & orange tank top - the only things that fit.  As you can tell - our trailer was quickly being outgrown with toys!

Here is Everett - my 8lb 11 oz 21" baby boy.  He was born August 16 - 4 days late.  He was a chunk.  My body doesn't do the going into labor thing on it's own for some reason so I was induced again.  The Dr. said he had a ton of black hair during delivery.  Well, I was shocked to realize - umm no - he's practically bald compared to his big sister.  PS - my husband has beautiful eyes & lashes - and he passed them on to my babies!

Here we are at home.  Aubrie is wearing her brand spanking new glasses.  She was still a baby herself at 20 months.  I was so happy that she could actually see my face when I held her - and her brothers too!  Everett was quite the chub & slept constantly - a huge change from his big sister who never ever slept.  I still had Abbie's nose in this picture & I look exhausted and I'm sure that I was!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Papa Loves Mama

My Dad is a special man.  He's the type of man everyone hopes their daughter marries.  He's a manly man.  He loves to read (this shocks people because he's quite a hick too), he leaves my Mom romantic love letters, he loves to mentor unruly boys & turn them into men with a purpose, he loves his job - which is farming, cattle & anything else he picks up, he puts his family first & always helps out, and most importantly he has always loved my Mom.  That's the best gift a father can give to his children - I believe!

My Dad was instrumental in building our house.  He taught my husband so many things & we will forever be grateful to him.  We never even imagined we would build a house.  A fixer upper in the country was our hope, but building a house on our dream land - with Jade's two hands - no hired contractor - never thought about it at all.  Until Dad said we could do it.  So I promise him when he's old and needs help, he can move into my basement & use my pink bathroom.  He replies - he'll burn it down first!  He's ornery too!

Here is my dad in the center.  This was some of the coldest weather we had.  I will never forget when they put the roof on the house.  I took chili for lunch & about died it was so cold.

Here is is again putting the first floor joists & sheeting I think they are called on.

He loves my kids & is a great Pa.  He also has a black eye here - probably from fighting a cow.  Which you are thinking - he fights cows?  Oh yes, he is like a ninja with the cows.  You now are thinking - cows aren't aggressive.  Well sometimes when you try and put them in a chute to fix a broken foot or pink eye - they get aggressive & they head butt you, they kick you hard, and they knock you down.  Cows are mean, they run, & with the amount of weight they are working with - they can seriously injure a person.  If you are my Dad & they knock you down - you then poke them in the eye.  Which I think is hilarious!  Please note - he loves his cows too.  He talks & sings to them & if he calls Sicalf real loud - they follow him like children - chase him on his gator rather to the food - most of his cows are in love with him.  However, some try and fight him and that's when they get poked in the eye - it's the life you lead with cattle.

He is a jack of all trades.  He can run equipment, weld, build anything you want, plumb, do electrical work - he's an overall handy man to have around.

When it comes to lifting - he's not afraid here either.  He's holding my porch post on his shoulder all nonchalant.  Well that baby was big - and heavy!  See the finished picture below.  PS - he built these too!

He loves when the kids visit his farm.  He wears overalls & Carhartts.  He drives a semi-truck - or two.  He can't wait to make Everett a farmer - which for a 2 year old - he's already succeeding!

Then he can also hold a stick if you tell him to.  It's very important if you want a level basement!

Thanks Dad for everything, especially loving my Mom & letting her stay home with us girls as we grew up!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Getting Twiggy With It

This past weekend I admitted that my porch was hideous.  I was having a jewelry party Monday night & it just couldn't look like it did!  I took down all my Christmas & left out the greenery, but it just had no pizazz without the over sized ornaments & lights.  So I took a trip to Menards with the hubs.  A date day - it's sad when your dates involve Long John Silvers & Menards - but ours commonly do.  So I looked at Menards, and they had absolutely nothing cute for winter outdoor decor at all - what a bust! 

(Thank the lord it was warm enough this past weekend to wear a sweatshirt only outside - then Monday it snowed - only in Illinois does weather like this happen!)

So I got home & I started rearranging the furniture & that helped a lot.  Then I thought - work with what you have!  So I went in the garage & looked at all my pots & found a bag of pine cones.  That's when the thought came to me - twigs.  Yes, just like in the house - go get some more twigs!

So I went to work!  I stacked two crates & opened the top one.  I filled it with greenery, pine cones & twigs.  So much better than how it started!

Then I moved on to our little table.  I had a wreath & a pot that fit perfect in it.  So I stuffed it too with greenery, pine cones, & twigs.

This is my favorite thing on my porch.  In the summer it holds a fern that always gets enormous.  In the winter I stuff it full of large ornaments & lights - always a winning combo!  So I did the same thing I had with the other two porch features.  I also stuck twigs out the sides of this thing for more dimension - it looks great!

Thank the lord for all the trees & twigs! 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Our Land

So I talk about where I live & you've seen my house, but I thought I'd share some of the before pictures.  To give you a sense of where I really come from & where I am now.

This land we live on is my dad's pasture land.  I believe he owns around 200 acres here, but I can't swear on that.  Those black specs are really part of his cattle herd.  He used to have around 300 head, but I'm not sure what his count is now.  This was the old lane to our land.  It curved to the right over the tiny hills.  We have since put in a new lane.  Now, Maggie is building in the next few years by my house & my Dad said the lane is going back to where it was - which makes me happy.  The current lane is a bit too steep now (I didn't love it the day the put it in) & it's really not in a great place for a school bus.  If you don't have 4 wheel drive you can't even think about driving up it on snow or ice.  Ask Abbie - she got stuck at the bottom & fell on the ice.  I swear I tried not to laugh that day!  So anyway - this is all still my Dad's land & they do hay here in the summer time.  The trees to the left though - those are now my trees :)

My parents graciously gave us 7.5 acres.  That's extremely kind considering it's beautiful land & free - land is very pricey!  So this is my home site.  I talk about it being a finger into the woods, but now you can see it.  We have a gorgeous forest & even a crick (I say crick not creek) behind us.  Jade gets all his firewood from many acres of woods.  This is where I used to camp with friends in high school.  I have always loved this land.  When we were young we used to take a 4 wheeler in these woods & fish large stones out of the crick for Mom's landscaping.  We had so much fun doing that!

The woods to the right come forward & there is a pond & then to the right of these woods there are I believe 5 more fingers into the woods that could hold homes.  Maggie will build right in the next finger to the right.  In the winter I will see her house.  I will love having her for a neighbor!

Here is our house now - smack dab in this finger.  Our grass still has some growing to do, but in the spring it looks really nice

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Two Serious Twinks

Maggie for some reason asked me to blog my wedding.  It seems so funny, because it's been nearly 6 years ago.  Jade & I have changed so much since that day, physically & mentally (I wish just mentally!)!  It's probably because she cried so hard that day that her face was all red and balled up like a gremlin and she can't remember it fully - sorry Mags!  So without further adieu -
We were married March 20, 2004 - and I have no idea what time - I think 4?!?  We had been a couple for 7 years at this point & were still are best friends.  We got engaged November 1st, 2003 & my Mom put the whole wedding together in a hurry b/c I didn't want a long engagement.  We were both out of college after December & we wanted to be married fast!  She did a great job & I was so glad she planned most of it for me because I just wanted to be married - I didn't care about all the details that come along with wedding planning!  Until we got married, I lived at home & he lived in our trailer in the country that my family fixed up for us.

I carried a family bible with flowers.  Don't we look young!  I worked at a farm supply store as a manager over the feed department.  I hauled around 2000 lb pallets on carts & restacked 50 lb bags of feed all day.  I was in the best shape of my life & didn't even know it!  My friends kept commenting about it, but I had no idea - I should have gotten married in a bikini - so stupid that I didn't know it then!

My bridesmaids all carried lanterns with candles & flowers on top.
From left to right is Elly (a best friend), Maggie, me, Melissa (a best friend & my maid of honor), Abbie, and Jessie (my cousin).  My flower girl was Syndney - one of my cousin Ellen's twins.  Her brother, Chase, was our ring bearer.

My old church in town is just gorgeous - aren't those windows just stunning!  Plus, the entire church is turquoise - it's just such a pretty church.  I don't go to church there now, but that's a different story :)

My parents & I.  I thought my Dad looked really handsome in this picture all dolled up & my Mom's eyes were both open.  She has a problem taking pictures and looking like her actual self - usually we all laugh hysterically because she looks crazy in pictures - but this is a nice one of her too.  FYI - Mom if you ever find your Sea World pass - I call dibs on it!

Our limo literally didn't show up.  We walked out of the church - everyone cheered & we had nothing to get into.  So my Mom's good friend saved the day.  She sent her husband home & he got his camper & took us to the reception.  It was really a great time & we were actually glad the limo forgot us!

Here are my grandparents.  On the far left is my late Grandpa Everett & Grandma Connie.  To my right is Grandma Leta, Grandma "Toots" & Grandpa Howard.  I love that Toots & Howard always match - they are adorable!  It's kind of a random photo at the reception, but my photographer wasn't great.  She showed up late - with a black eye - and claimed she wasn't in a bar fight. MMM Hmmm yeah - I think she was at The Spigot or The Hilltop the night before!

This is one of my favorite pictures of the day.  They played "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" dedicated to my Grandpa Everett.  He was a life-time farmer & farmed with my Dad.  I saw him pretty much every day when I lived at home.  He'd pull up in his pickup truck around 7AM I believe after visiting every gas station in town gathering his coffee, cigars, & snack cakes for the day.  He danced with me and we had so much fun!  He was so cute & I still miss him way too much!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Naming Your Style

I read a blog & she said her style was Casual Chic.  Then she said - what is your style?

Well, naming my style is something I haven't ever been able to do.  I used to be very Pottery Barn & Pier 1 - more traditional than now with a bit of funk I think.  My house used to be an olive green, with reds, & golds.  For a newlywed - I had a nice house trailer with furniture in every room!  I was a bargain shopper, rummage sale queen, & Family Dollar was my best friend!  You could get a cute lamp for $10 there - can't beat that price - really you can't!

Now my style is so much more eclectic.  It seems to be ever evolving every time I go junking.  I never dreamed my house would be what it is today.  I even bought a really expensive light olive green leather recliner in our trailer & said to Jade I'll always use this color.  Well it's kind of out of place now, it still works, but I'm not sure it always will.  Since we built I can't put a finger on what I am anymore.  I have bold colors, but I love rusty metal & industrial items.

 I also love modern fabrics and old family prints.  Old school maps, eye charts, and science posters drive me wild.  (FYI - if anyone ever ever sees a chart of elements - call me immediately!  I may sound insane, but I'd give an arm & a leg for a large chart of elements poster!  I'm not even joking here!)

Aubrie's room is shabby chic with a twist of bold cornflower paint - perfect for her!  My kitchen is more vintage than the rest of my house with old chalk vegetables from my Grandma, but yet my kitchen island is from the 1800's and I'm in love with it.  I even collect some chickens - doesn't sound like I would, but I really like old chickens!

Animal prints scream my name, and unfortunately I can't pass up a good zebra throw.  I just can't!  I love chippy painted furniture more than anything, but until I can afford only those pieces - I use lots of spray paint.  I love leather because my kids spray juice and chocolate milk out of their mouths daily & my dog Trudie sneezes (yes she does) constantly!  Everything washes right off!

  I have a house mainly made up of large ceramic floor tiles - I LOVE it!  Seriously, last March Aubrie & Everett threw up at least 10-20x a day (Aubrie had to be hospitalized it was so bad - entirely separate post there) & my tile was my best friend.  I can ALWAYS disinfect some tile!

Somehow with all my randomness I have bought so many things that I love.  Anymore, I would struggle to say this is my favorite thing.  Don't get me wrong - I have all kinds of things I'd love to toss in a heartbeat, but I keep them until their replacement calls my name across a junky flea market!  If something calls my name, I typically buy it or I regret it and think about it for months!  (Sorry really long low gray bench, and fabulous yellow green bench from Bloomington last April - I really wish I had you now & it makes me sad.)

So does anyone know what my style is?  Are you a professional style labler?  Can you name it for me?  Mom a little help here?

Am I modern country?  Is that what you call me?  I know I'm not straight modern or country, I'm not shabby chic (deep appreciation of it though & think Maggie leans this way w/ a tad more color), I'm not traditional, I'm not really vintage either (Abbie is though)...what am I?


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