Saturday, December 30, 2017

I survived the first "teenage party"

Valerie decided long ago she wanted to have a sleepover for her 13th birthday party.  Her birthday party is tough to plan being December 21st.  When she was small, we'd have it the first weekend in December.  That was back when we'd rent a big bounce house and invite everybody we knew to make a whole day of it.  We tried once having it in November, but it was too early Val said.  If it's too close to Christmas, no one comes.  She decided this year she wanted to do it in the middle of Christmas break, so she decided on December 27.

She had an invite list of eight girls at first, then that grew to ten.  I knew from the names on the list that a few weren't likely to come, and I was right.  Six of her friends showed up, then a seventh came a little later.  Seven giggling girls plus my two, we had a house full.  Clint was out numbered, ha!  We borrowed a few air mattresses and set them up to camp out in the living room.  No one slept much, as they were up well into the night/morning.  It was a little chaotic, but nothing too bad.  Val was getting aggravated with all the talking while trying to watch a movie, and actually bailed on her party and went to bed in her room!   I think the others all had a good time just hanging out, eating pizza, cookie cake, and other junk.

After everyone was gone the next morning, Val told me, "I don't think I'm inviting that many people ever again.  Maybe just 5 next time."   LOL!   I'm not going to argue with that.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Obligatory Christmas Post Continued


Christmas morning we weren't up too early but we were up early enough to get dinner started if we wanted to eat by noon!  Veronica was up soon after eyeing those wrapped presents.  Valerie wasn't up yet though, so she had to wait.  Finally she couldn't stand it any longer, so we dragged Valerie out of bed. 

What was the wrapped gift?  Some were decoy smaller gifts... but the big one.... the hot ticket item this Christmas....

A Nintendo Switch.  Both girls talked a lot about wanting a Switch and Mario Kart.  Darn thing and the games are crazy expensive.  I kept telling them there was no way I was buying that, but of course Santa had one hidden away all along.  It is really neat in that you can play it on the TV like a gaming system, and then it switches to a handheld portable game in seconds.  I tried to play it and can't.  The moving screen makes me nauseous.  Darn motion sickness.  The x-Box does the same thing to me, so I can't play it either. 

We had our Christmas dinner of ham, pork roast, bacon wrapped green beans, sweet potato casserole, corn pudding, rice dressing, cranberries, and dinner rolls.  Then we mostly just sat around all day with "A Christmas Story" on repeat!!

Christmas night we put in the DVD copy of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"  that Santa had brought.  Neither one of the kids had seen it entirely, and I hadn't watched it in many, many years.  Still just as funny as ever! 

That was pretty much it for the day.  A nice, quiet Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Obligatory Christmas Post

We always have a little 'party' on Christmas Eve.  It's not really a party, but I like to call it that anyway.  We have party type food and open the gifts under the tree.  For as long as I can remember, we've always had barbecue meatballs, sausages, deviled eggs, finger sandwiches, chips/dip, etc. on Christmas Eve.  It started way back when we'd go to my grandma's house when I was a little kid, and my Mom kept it up, and now I do it.  

It was so fun watching Valerie and Veronica open their gifts.  Lots of laughs and silliness!!  The favorites are the super soft blankets I got them, the Japan Crate subscription, and the Akibento Subscription as well.  

I had bought a few things for myself, including a new Fitbit and a duffel bag for our next vacation since the zippers broke on the one I have.  Clint surprised me with diamond stud earrings and a smell good candle from a local shop!!

We had a huge present mess to contend with and then I shuffled everyone off to bed so Santa could pass.  All was quiet, so Santa passed rather early and went to bed.  

Around 12:30 am, we were awoken by an excited Veronica.  Santa had come!!  Some of the presents were wrapped and Santa NEVER wraps the presents, so what was in them??  She wanted to open them at 1:00am.  Uh no...  It took some convincing but she went back to bed.  

To be continued....

Monday, December 25, 2017


From our family to all of you...

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Big Man in Red is Fading Fast

It's Christmas Eve!! 

Santas, are you ready??  I've spent a lot of time planning, buying, and hiding!!!  There's a pile of presents under the tree, but Santa's are stashed away waiting for the moment.  I have small things under the tree, but Santa brings the good stuff.  The toys.  The games.  The surprises!  The things that they begged for but this mamma has said NO to repeatedly....  Ha!

Valerie hasn't mentioned much about Santa at all this year.  She barely cared much at all last year either.  She did just turn thirteen, so I'm sure she must know.  I've thought about casually mentioning something along the lines of, 'You do know by now that mamma and daddy help Santa, right??"  But I haven't.  She seems to be playing along.  Perhaps she is still holding on to the hope that it might be true, even thought she knows otherwise. 

Veronica is ten and still writes a list for Santa.  She started it way back in July (!) and it is quite a list!!  She is just going to leave it on the table and Santa can pick some of it and she's fine with whatever she gets.  She talked about Santa's toy sack being magic not long ago, so the mystery is still somewhat alive for her.  We have to leave cookies out tonight and she said we need a carrot for the reindeer.  On the flip side, she's said that quite a few people at school say Santa isn't real.  Most of her friends probably know

I know our Santa days are numbered and this year is probably the end. We've had a good thirteen year run with Santa, which is more than most.  It does leave me feeling a little sad knowing that it's over.  It's been work, but it's also been fun surprising the kids on Christmas morning.  I will miss seeing them so excited to have presents magically appear under the tree. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Eve of Christmas Eve

I can't believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve already.  December sure has flown by...

Yesterday we were supposed to make a trip to the big Christmas Fest in New Orleans.  We went last year and had a fantastic time.  There's a huge ice rink, ice slide, fair rides, games, and activities all included in the admission.  I got up and got dressed as did Clint.  We got Valerie up and she laid around on the couch playing on her phone.  She said she still wanted to go, but wouldn't even get up to put on shoes.  Veronica.... basically refused to get out of bed.  I tried for an hour and she just would not move.  So, we decided it wasn't worth the fight trying to get out the door.  Clint and I bailed on them and went to the movies by ourselves!!  We saw "The Greatest Showman" and I"m glad we did.  I really enjoyed it and it was a nice outing. 

 Last night we did get the kids out of the house to ride around looking at Christmas lights for a few hours.  My Dad used to take me all over town to see the lights and I still like doing it. 

Today I did some prep work for Christmas dinner.  Valerie and I baked cookies for Santa, and well, us too!!  Veronica had a friend over all day so she was 'too busy' to help.  Tonight, Clint built a fire in the fire pit.  A cold front came through today, so it was a nice night to sit outside by the fire!  It's going to be COLD for Christmas - yay!!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Lucky 13

It does not feel like I should be the Mom of a teenager.  She's still my little girl.  She'll always be my little girl!! 

 It seems as though we just brought her home and had our first Christmas with our newborn baby girl.

Then she was this happy little girl: 


I blinked and now here she is, 13, and so grown up. Already.

Happy 13th birthday, to my lovely daughter Valerie!!  How proud I am of the young lady you are becoming.  Love you, always!!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Hello, Dafni, my new BFF

We all see those ads while scrolling through Facebook:  cute clothes, gadgets, amazing products, phone chargers, etc.  I'm sure we all know by now many of them are China knock-offs and it's hit or miss as to what you actually get, if you get it at all. 

Last year the trend was those amazing hair straightening brushes.  Those videos were everywhere and while they looked amazing, I was skeptical.  Most seemed to come from - you guessed it - China.  I've wanted one for a while because if you know me, I hate fooling with my hair.  I have super thick hair that is more or less straight on the sides and way curly in the back.  Weird, wild, hair.  I am not one to flat iron it ever.  My stylist does it when I get it cut and it is so nice, shiny, and soft.  I just don't have the time and I'm too lazy to put forth the effort to do that every day.  Messy hair, don't care! 

When I made a Black Friday purchase at Target, I was sent a 20% off coupon to use on one shopping trip.  It was about to expire, so I did some browsing online and ran across one of the brushes.  I did some research and learned THIS was one of the brushes that was copied.  This was the real deal.  A Dafni Straightening brush.  I found it listed elsewhere at the bargain price of $150. 

Say what?

Target's price was under $30.  Yes....  $150 and $30 for the same item!!?  I used my 20% discount and my 5% RedCard discount and got it for a little over $20, which is about what the China knock-offs are going for.  I figured if nothing else, I'd sell it on eBay and make a few bucks.

This is what my hair looks like after sleeping on it while it's damp. 

Literally I brushed my hair with the Dafni for five minutes.  FIVE minutes y'all.  Just brushing, no sectioning piece by piece.  I just brushed the top, then passed it underneath a few times. 

This is only my second time using the Dafni, so I'm still learning.  I doubt I will do this every day, but it's nice to have an easy option when I'm in the mood to straighten my hair or need to calm it down.  Dafni Straightening brush gets an A+ from me. 

(No, I did not get anything free for this post.  I bought it, I tried it, and I liked it!)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Santa's the same

Yesterday I took Valerie and Veronica to the mall for their annual Santa picture. 

Oddly enough, yesterday on my Timehop app, was their very first Santa picture together. 

They've changed a bit, while Santa looks the same!  We've had the same mall Santa for years now.  This year they changed up the backdrop which I am not crazy about.  It looks okay in person, but see that black thing behind Santa?  It's actually a giant chimney/fireplace.  You can't tell that AT ALL from the picture.  The older pic with the chair and tree looks so much better.  No telling who decides these things.  Our mall actually isn't decorated one bit.  Usually there's garland hanging all over and decorations here and there.  Behind Santa is usually a blocked off area with fake snow and over sized toys.  This year there is nothing.  Seriously, nothing festive anywhere.  Our mall is pretty bad; we don't even have a food court or anchor restaurant anymore.  Sears closed and that entire wing is dead.  If it wasn't for JC Penny and Dillard's, I'd never go there at all. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Not a Christmasy post

Do you ever feel like no one listens to you?  Or maybe they listen but they don't really hear you?

This is not a very Christmasy post.

But I am tired.  I often do not feel well.  Various aches and pains that come along with being a forth-five year old woman.  Vein disease sucks and I need to have another procedure on my left leg because it hurts constantly.  But the first two procedures hurt terribly so I don't wanna.  The thyroid surgery really threw a wrench into my life plan.  There is no tired like this no-thyroid tired.  The Hashimotos symptom list is long and I have many of them.  I still feel dizzy and foggy often.  But I manage.  I don't complain (much.) I do not always feel well but I do not dwell on it because it is what it is.  I am better than I was at first.  I am "okay."

Even on very bad days, I still get up and cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Make treats for the kids.  Clean up the kitchen mess afterwards.  Find a way to go to the gym, not entirely because I want to, but because I have to.  I feel so defeated sometimes in the classes I take because I feel just terrible, some things I can't do at all, but I stick it out anyway.   I take the low option, all the way, because some is better than none.  If I didn't, I would feel worse.  I run the errands, do all the shopping, do all the cooking, the dishes, the housework, and  the laundry.  Take out all the garbage.  An empty box will sit for weeks until I throw it out.  Ditto for a piece of trash on the floor.  I drive the kids to school, pick them up from after school activities, bring them to dance classes, and appointments.  The bills are paid.  I feed and clean up after our three cats.   I make all the plans and decisions because otherwise we'd do nothing and go nowhere.   If I don't say anything, nothing happens and time ticks away and no one makes a move or says a word.  I can't count how many times we've had plans that we bailed on because it became too late to go, all because I didn't light a fire under everyone.  My whole life is taking care of people and pets, getting everyone else moving, making sure everyone is happy, fed, clothed, and has what they need.

All the while, no one really takes care of me.  No one ever asks, "How are you?"  "Do you feel okay today?"  "What can I do to help you?"  "What do you want to do?"

I know it's all part of being a MOM but some days are so hard.  It's exhausting.

I've asked my family to pitch in and help me - just sometimes.  Even having someone do something small like clear the junk off the table or get the dinner plates out would be one less thing I'd have to do.  I've told them time and time again - THIS is hard for me to do day after day, all by myself.  Please help, just a little.  I don't always feel well.  Instead, I end up standing on my aching leg in the kitchen doing the endless cooking, cleaning, etc., all alone.  Again and again.  Then, if I say anything at all or get upset about no one helping, I become the bad guy and get the silent treatment.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Counting down...

Only two more days of school left in 2017!!  This Mamma sure is ready for a break. 

I'll be the Mom of a teenager in just six days.  Yikes.  This Mamma isn't ready for that! 

Christmas is a mere ten days away.  I'm trying not to stress too much but face it, Christmas can be overwhelming.  Sadly this Mamma spends so much time focusing on making Christmas magical and making everyone else happy that I forget to be happy myself.  At least I am done with all my shopping.  I might have 1-2 small things left to pick up.  It's not like I buy for a ton of people.  It's just my kids and a few of their friends.  I don't buy much for them through out the year, so Christmas is usually pretty big.  There are a few things I ordered that haven't come in yet, but there's still a little bit of time.  I don't think my kids will mind if they get a late gift. 

I do still need to go shopping for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day Dinner.   I have my menu planned but I just need the groceries!

Who's done with their shopping and who hasn't even started?!? 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Lovely day.... not.

Something woke me up during the night, and I opened my eyes to find everything very silent and very dark.  No power.  I picked up my phone to see what time it was, and noticed someone had posted in our neighborhood's Facebook group that the feed to the entire town had been lost.  Lovely.  I figured it would be hours before it was fixed.  I dozed off and on until it finally came back on about 3am. 

My alarm went off too early at 5:45, and I discovered we had no internet. No cable TV.  No home phone.  All of Comcast's services were down.  Another lovely.  I did a quick look on my phone and found a notice from Comcast saying there was an outage in our area and it would be three hours before it was restored.  Lovely for the third time. 

Valerie came into the kitchen yelling at me about her school shirt.  All she could find was a size large shirt.  She wanted a medium.  The larges are too big and the collar hangs too low.  All her clothes are washed and put into her room, but she never and I mean never puts them away.  She has a big pile of clean clothes at all times.  I totally lost my cool and threw the attitude right back at her because I was so not in the mood to be bitched at because of a missing shirt!!  She has several and all of them are clean and just hidden under the mess in her room.  I then felt bad so I looked and it took all of 10 seconds to dig a medium shirt out of Val's clean clothes pile.  Drama for nothing.

We weren't late for school but we were behind schedule and traffic was just awful. 

Once back home, I got myself ready to head to the gym and run some errands.  I really need to go to Target and finish my Christmas shopping.  I was about to grab my keys, and bam... out go the lights again.  No electricity in our town or a few towns over.  Major equipment failure.  JUST LOVELY.  You know the traffic lights are out and the stores are out of power, so here I sit.  The power has come back on and gone off again, repeatedly over the last two hours. 

It's back on now.... so I debate on should I stay or should I go??  I'm thinking I will just wait until tomorrow at this point.

Did I mention it's not even 11am?? 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Today's joke

Val:  Why can't you hear a pterodactyl go to the bathroom?

Roni:  Because it's "P" is silent.

Val:  No.  Because it's dead.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Taking of the Christmas pictures

Every year, we take family Christmas pictures for cards.  I debated on not even bothering with cards this year as our list has dwindled greatly.  Long ago I would send out about 40 cards, and this year I have maybe 6 addresses on my card list!!  In the end, I decided we had to do it since it's our yearly family picture.  

I set up my good camera on a tripod in the backyard and used the timer feature.  Surprisingly, everyone (akaVeronica) cooperated fairly well.  We had just a little bit of drama... but not as much as previous years. 

These are a few of my favorites.  

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Sneaux Day!!

Yesterday we had an awesome but very rare weather event!!!!

Snow is so rare on the Gulf Coast that the last time I saw anything comparable was in 1989.  We had a bit more than a dusting on Christmas Day in 2004 when Valerie was just 4 days old.  In my 45 years, it has snowed twice.  Honestly I didn't pay any attention to the snow forecast figuring nothing was going to happen.  It had been 80 degrees on Tuesday, and an arctic blast was heading our way on Wednesday.  Countless times, there has been a chance of the white stuff and we eagerly watch and get none.  I was almost certain this was another false alarm.  Joke's on me!!

It wasn't just me though because school continued as usual.  Normally school is cancelled at the threat of freezing precipitation.  Roads and bridges ice over and driving becomes a hazard.  I guess the school officials didn't believe it would happen either. 

Literally minutes after I dropped Valerie and Veronica off in front of school yesterday morning, it started sleeting.  It was pretty heavy and went on for a few hours.  I heard reports of snow in towns all around us, so again, I figured it would miss us completely.  Wrong!  I started seeing snow flakes mixed in with the sleet, then more and more snow, and eventually it was all snow!!  Holy moly - it snowed off and on for hours!!!!   I've never seen anything like it.  Simply beautiful and amazing.  I know people up north think it's funny how we get so excited over a little snow.  It never snows here though.  NEVER.  We don't have much of a winter at all, so getting any snow is quite an experience.  Thankfully school pretty much scrapped all their classroom work and the teachers and kids played outside most of the day to enjoy this rare event! 

After school, both girls came running off the bus bursting with excitement.  They have never seen snow before at all.  We all went outside to play for a few hours. What an awesome day it was!!!   I took so many videos and pictures.  Valerie said she wishes for a time machine so she could go back and do the day all over again.  It was so wet and cold, but so much fun and memories that will last forever -  December 8, 2017 will forever be known as the day it snowed in South Louisiana!!

Friday, December 08, 2017

For the love of lights

One of the best things about Christmas was my Dad driving me around town to look at the lights.  It made me happy and I was always so excited to go.  My Dad would take me all over town looking down every street for houses decked out for Christmas.  Blow molds were all the rage, and seeing Santa and his sleigh on rooftops was my favorite.  For some reason, we never decorated though.  I wanted to more than anything.  I wanted pretty lights on my house like the ones we drove around, so that people would drive past our house like we did theirs!!  It wasn't until I was much older (in my 20s) and had a real job and my own money that we put lights on our house.  My boyfriend and I bought a crazy amount of white lights and my boyfriend put them up for us.  He even climbed up on the house to do the roof line.  It wasn't fancy but we finally had lights!

We more than make up for the lack of lights now.  Clint spends days, weeks, and even months working on our light show.  This is our third year with a Light-o-rama show.  We've already been mentioned in the newspaper twice this holiday season!!  Every year we try to make it a little bigger and a little better.  This year he built two dancing arches.  They need some improving, but for now they work. 

Everybody seems to know about "that house in Bayou Blue."  We definitely have people driving by to see us now!


Thursday, December 07, 2017

Oh Chippy

We've been doing the Elf on the Shelf bit for a few years now.  Chippy usually shows up around Thanksgiving and leaves with Santa on Christmas Eve.  When it was the new thing, I did some looking around and decided I was not about to shell out $30 for that stupid little elf and book.  Thrifty me found the bigger elf plush on eBay for under ten bucks.  Sure, he's much bigger but he works just the same.

For a twist, if the girls are good, our elf leaves candy in our Christmas advent countdown house.  Every morning, the girls run to open the wooden door for that day and find two Hershey Kisses inside.  Sometimes Chippy forgot (oops) so the candy was late in appearing.

Valerie lost interest in Chippy a few years ago.  I suspect she no longer Believes, although we have never had such a conversation.  Feeling tired and un-creative, Chippy mostly just moves from hiding place to hiding place, occasionally being a tad bit mischievous.  Veronica still pops out of bed grabs her candy, and will glance around for Chippy.  We all know she is a smart, smart girl.  Apparently she has a theory.

She said those elves we see in the store, like the ones Books-a-million....  The small elves that come with the book.  Those are fake.  They aren't real and are moved around at night by --- parents!!!  Ours is different because he's the bigger one and that makes him a REAL elf.

Me:  Blank look.  "Uh, sure, okay.  Mmhmm. That must be it."

Something tells me, Chippy, that your days are numbered.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Joke of the day

Valerie:  "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

Me:  "Uh, to get to the other side."

Valerie:  "No.  To go to the idiot's house."

Me:  "Okaaaay."

Valerie:  "Knock knock."

Me:  (giving her a look)  "Who's there?"

wait for it.....

Valerie:  "The chicken."

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

This old house....

We had been toying with the idea of picking up a second rental property for a while, but nothing we found seemed to be the right fit.  They were either too much money, needed too much work, or were in an undesirable location.  One Sunday in April, Clint spied this gem.  A 4 bedroom, 1 bath, brick house.

It had been listed for $122,000 and was suddenly drastically reduced.  I mean drastically.  So we decided to give it a shot and looked at it the same afternoon.  The exterior had been updated with siding and new windows, but the inside was 1960 all over again.  Faded, dirty, flowery wallpaper all over the kitchen. The closed in carport was not quite finished all the way.  The floors were torn up linoleum.  Two rooms had no floor at all. The walls were dark paneling.  Doors were missing or broken.  Looking past all of that, it had potential.  The floor plan was nice.  It had custom kitchen cabinets (in dire need of TLC) and custom book cases.  The bathroom had been updated with marble.  It had lots and lots of storage space.  It was in a decent neighborhood and the price was so low.  The yard was huge with an awesome oak tree.  Clint put in a really low offer and the sellers accepted -- it belonged to NINE children who inherited it. We did all the inspections and found out the central a/c unit was shot.  It also needed a bit of electrical work.  Everything else looked good, so we bargained for a few more thousand off, and got it for a real steal.

Then came the 'fun' part.  The renovations.  Clint got bids - for just labor - and let's just say some of them were just ridiculous.  Perhaps they just didn't want the job so they purposely overbid.  Some of them came in more than double the lower end bids, for the same amount of work.  Crazy.

We ended up hiring someone to do the things we couldn't and did a lot of the work ourselves.  Never again.  Never.  It wasn't that hard, but it was slow and tedious.  Our entire summer was spent working in this house.  We re-did everything.  Painted everything.  Replaced everything.  It did turn out rather nice.  We learned a lot and managed to stay well with in our budget.  It then took a while to find the right tenants, but it's been a couple of months and so far so good.

Here's a few before and after pics of what occupied many many months of our time.  How did we do?