Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Up

“When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up.”

~Les Brown~

Here’s a pic taken when Julia turned 13. She’s using the pulley’s at the Magic House in St. Louis, to pull up the construction buckets. She’s with her friends Shelby and Leah.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Change

Life as she knew it changed on the day we welcomed her baby sister into this world!

My poor little niece Esme was used to having ALL the attention to herself and really believed that she was the center of everyone’s heart until the pesky day that her baby sister made her debut! lol Can you see, by the look on her face, that her world is about to change? This was June 4, 2012. The change has not fared well for poor Esme but I believe that there’s hope and she’ll learn to adjust before she turns 18! lol PLEASE God, let there be hope!

This quote really could have been written for Esme’. She follows NOBODY’S rules and has no respect for authority. I guess that can be a good thing if channeled in the right way and TRUST me, we’re ALL working on it. It really does take a village to raise a child in the way she should go and she’s got the love and attention of not only her parents and older sisters, but her extended family. Most especially her old doting Auntie / Godmother Michelle 😉 Maybe she’ll be the next Steve Jobs?

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Apple Inc.

Restaurant Style File Mignon

You guys HAVE to know the secret to the absolute BEST way to do filet mignons!  It has NOTHING to do with the grill, either.  *shock*  Actually, any of my “foodie” friends may already know this but it’s something new to me and I feel compelled to share 🙂  I teased you with a pic on my hubby’s birthday post.

This is a revised recipe I got off of Pinterest.  If you haven’t tried cooking steaks this way, PLEASE do yourself a favor and give it a whirl.  I PROMISE you that all your family and friends will think you’re the bomb!  You know how you go to your favorite steak house and the steak is better than anything you could grill, ever?  Yeah, this is how you do it!

Restaurant Style Pan Seared Filet Mignon

Ingredients:

4 8 oz filet mignons

4 tsp sea salt

8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

2 sticks butter

2 TBSP olive oil

4 cloves chopped fresh garlic

2 TBSP dried parsley

2 TBSP dried thyme

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Directions:

Take 1 stick of butter, softened.  Mix well with garlic, thyme, parsley and lemon zest.  Form into a log and chill.  Generously season each side of the filets with salt and pepper (approximately 1 tsp of BOTH salt and pepper per side – TRUST me, it sounds like a lot of salt but the salt acts to form the crust on the steak and you really DO need it).  Heat the other stick of butter and the olive oil in a CAST IRON skillet to a SCREAMING HOT temperature.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Sear the filets in the extremely hot skillet for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until a nice brown crust forms.  While the steaks are searing, continuously spoon the butter from the pan on top of the steaks.  When the steaks are done searing, place in the preheated oven (center rack) in the same cast iron skillet.  Cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until the temperature reads 135 degrees (medium rare).  During the last minute of cooking, take that delicious herb butter that should be chilling and glob a generous dab of butter on each steak.  The butter won’t be melted ALL the way when you’re ready to take out of the oven.  Let steak sit for 5 minutes before you serve.  The juices will stay inside the steak this way.

*135 degrees is medium rare.  Obviously not everyone likes the cows to be still mooing so cook a little longer if you don’t like that much red.  I think if you’re going to spend the money on filet mignon, you shouldn’t over cook it.  You’ll want that tender flavor.  135 degrees is PERFECT for us 🙂

Birthday boy and other stuff :-)

What a week!  Can I just tell you that I’ve realized, this week, that I’m INDESTRUCTIBLE?  If this week didn’t kill me, NOTHING can.  Can I also share with you that one thing I’ve FINALLY gotten through my head is that I should NEVER EVER EVER get too complacent or self assured especially when it comes to my kids?  If there’s ANYTHING you’ve ever learned from me, this should be it.  I want you to know that when you FINALLY feel like you’re doing something right and that you have at least ONE kid who seems to be rolling right along on the right track,  you should probably dig a little deeper.  Or maybe you shouldn’t.  Maybe it’s a VERY good thing to live in denial.  I wish I still lived there! I’ll have to tell you about my little angel later.

Right now, I want to share with you some other fine points of my week 🙂  My husband took the week off so we’ve been bonding.  It was his birthday on Tuesday and he likes to take some of his vacation time to chill out and regroup.  He COULDN’T have known all hell would break out during this week.  *snicker*  It all actually worked out very well that he was here though, because he kept me from killing the teenage munchkin.  See, I’ve told you all before that there ARE no accidents!  It wasn’t a coincident that he took off on the week that I find out about all her shenangins.  I think that was a GOD thing.  lol  Thank you God for saving my lil precious “angel’s” life…  I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself had I REALLY wrung her neck the way I wanted to!  lol

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Here’s how we celebrate birthday’s around here.  We do whatever the birthday boy wants to do. Ben LOVES his guns and he’s wanted to get me at the shooting range for a while now.  We shot his 9mm, his 357 magnum and the one I personally love shooting, the little bitty BB type gun… a 22.

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I can’t say I’m really a fan of guns.  I’ve had some pretty nightmarish experiences when I was young.  I was the victim so I have PTSD when it comes to hearing gun shots.  The only way to sweeten the pot and GET me to the range was to tell me that I could learn to protect myself from those zombies that I’m positive I’ll have to learn to kill during the zombie apocalypse!  lmao  I’m a HUGE Walking Dead fan:-)

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Here’s the mess of guns we used to kill those zombies!

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Here’s the 357 magnum that kept jamming up.  We would have been up a creek if the zombies got too close and we had to depend on THIS thing working.  Time to find a gunsmith 😉

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I’m actually a really good shot (most of the time).  I’m not sure how smart my husband is for wanting to teach me to love guns.  Wise people have told him that this could be dangerous for HIS life.  I have to agree.  My temper and a gun?  Maybe NOT the smartest idea he’s had.

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He had to eat this cake all by himself because he’s the ONLY one who likes coconut.  Coconut is one of the only foods that will make me gag.  Oh and fish.  I can’t even bear the smell of fish.  But it turned out pretty, huh?  It’s a 3 layer, made from scratch coconut cake.

I also made a killer filet mignon and homemade herb butter!  OMG!  It was SO good 🙂

Happy birthday Honey!  Here’s hoping for another 45 years!

My birthday girl…. before.

I’ve talked about this before…. a little.  My middle child, Danielle has been gone since right before she turned 17.  Today she turns 20.  Another birthday without her and yeah, I’m a little sad.  I remember the early days, when she first left, I thought I would DIE of the pain in my heart.  I really did.  Then, I’d convinced myself that she wouldn’t be gone long, because she was a mama’s girl and we were SO close.  She would curl up on the couch with me and want me always to hug her and hold her.  She’d sing with me and most of the time, it was hard to be mad at her because she’d turn my anger into laughter.  I couldn’t look at her with a straight face.  I’m laughing now, thinking about it.  She was so funny.

Through time, it became evident that she was in trouble.  I tried to stop the trouble before it got too out of hand but I didn’t have the support of her father.  He was “good time dad” who only wanted to be a hero.  He wasn’t there during the bad times to lead her the way he should have.  His house became her safe haven away from my rules.  She just wanted to be free.  I can’t blame her.  She got THAT from me.

I worry that she’ll get hurt, out on her own.  I’ve mentioned before that she’s shut me completely out of her life because she can’t face me. She also can’t deal with the death sentence I’ve been given.  She told others that she wishes I would just go ahead and die so that she could stop worrying about it.  To her, I’m already dead.  They tell me it’s normal for some kids to distance themselves from a terminally ill parent.  It’s not normal to ME.  I wouldn’t do something like that to my own parents but I have to realize she’s not me.  She’s got her own set of feelings and maybe I just don’t understand the way my children feel. I’ve LONG ago forgiven her and have tried time and time again to open the doors of communication.  Short of stalking her, there’s nothing I can do besides wait.

SO, today, on her 20th birthday, like the other three birthdays she’s had without me, I wait.  I tell myself, it’s okay.  Just as long as she’s alive, there’s hope.  My heart will never stop longing for her though.  To fill the time, I write her letters and keep a journal so that if something DOES happen to me before she comes back, one day she’ll have what I’ve written to remind her that once there was love.  And that she’s always been so special.

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Danielle holding baby Esme’

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Danielle trying on clothes

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The last birthday we celebrated with Danielle when she turned 16.  She wanted a Spiderman themed birthday…  she’s SO funny.

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Danielle and Amber on one of the last family vacations in the Smoky Mountains.

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Danielle at an ice cream shop in Enterprise Alabama

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Danielle being goofy on a horse in Pigeon Forge TN, another family vacation.

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Happy Birthday baby girl.

“The Rain” , Here she comes…

Happy 20th Birthday Danielle Elizabeth! March 5, 1993.

20 years ago today, I gave birth to the tiniest little baby girl but the HUGEST fireball that ever blessed the County of Jefferson! lol I could hear the doctors excitedly say, “this one’s a WILD one” when she flipped her angry little baby body right out of their hands. She flipped her little body right off the scales when they were weighing her, as if she were a fish out of water. I should have known then that she was going to keep me on my toes. The first half of her life, she brought me chaos but more joy than I ever thought possible with a child. She was creative and had the brightest imagination of ALL my girls. She loved beautiful things, music, flowers and had so much passion. She was every bit as intense as I knew she would be. Mom’s just know things even when they’re carrying their babies inside, safe and warm. It wasn’t an easy pregnancy and she danced and did acrobats on my kidney’s and bladder and liver every single night and day of the 9 months I carried her. I used to BEG her to let me sleep but she wouldn’t comply, ever. I used to cry because it actually HURT to carry her. I couldn’t have known then that those would be some of the best days. The days when I didn’t have to share her with anyone else. I wish I would have known to cherish them. I don’t share well now and I never did.

I haven’t spent time with Danielle for 3 years now. She wanted her own life and we didn’t agree on the “rules”. I tried to protect her from herself and this big ole bad world. You can’t keep a butterfly alive in a jar with a tight lid. They’ll die. I thought I could though. I tried, I really did. People tell me she’s doing fine now and conquering the world. Yet, I hear from others that she’s her own worst enemy and does things to put her life in danger. She chose a life of drugs and endless partying. That was precisely what I was trying to protect her from because I saw it coming. Her father is an addict and she ran to him because she knew she could get away with anything… and she did.

I pray that God keeps her safe from herself and shows her all the potential that she was born with. I pray that she grows out of this phase of life where she feels indestructible and she eventually remembers all the love that we used to share. I pray that she remembers ALL of us who loved her so very much. She’s a stubborn one though. Even more so that me. She’s got my temper and stubbornness and her fathers idealism and stubbornness and it will take a miracle to break down those walls. I’ve got time though. We never really give up on our children, do we? Even when it would be easier to just walk away. I’m thankful for the time we DID have and I’m thankful for the blessings she’s shown me. God, PLEASE keep her in your loving arms, safe and warm like she used to be.

Every year I post the song that was playing when she was born. I had the radio on in my room and at the exact minute of her arrival, “Here Comes the Rain” by the Cult came on. It was prophetic, really. AND strange because it was one of her father’s favorite songs. She’s HIS girl now but she sure used to be a mommy’s girl. Happy birthday baby. You’ll NEVER be able to kill my love ♥

My Little Chunkaddodle Turns 4! Cuteness overload….

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4 years ago, February 2, 2009, God blessed us with our very first grandchild!  Happy birthday to  one of the biggest loves of my life, my little “Chunkadoodle”.

Being a Mawmaw has brought me many emotions I couldn’t have imagined I’d have.  First of all, I would never have guessed that I could POSSIBLY love another human being the way I love my own children.  My heart swells with emotion beyond love for this little angel.  When I hear her tiny little voice say “Mawmaw, come meer, I want to SHOW you sumpin”… and then she brings me a flower…

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When she screams, “Mawmaw, I wanna swing HIGH , all the way to the MOON!”

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When she pretends not to hear me when I tell her it’s time to leave because she’s MUCH too busy climbing the jungle gym…  And she makes me have to run and catch her to bring her down…

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When she says, “Pawpaw, Come meer, I wanna give you a hug” and I see my husband melt…

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When she falls asleep eating a chicken nugget on the way to somewhere…Image

And when we finally get to “somewhere”, how she makes me laugh because she wants to try on every hat in the gift shop…Image

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When she tells a funny joke and she cracks her OWN self up…

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When she’s in her own little world and she doesn’t know we’re part of that world…

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When she’s ready to take on the world with a cannon AND a sippy cup…

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When she causes her daddy grief because she’s too squirmy…

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When she thinks I’m Reeeeediculous……

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When she says “Pawpaw, I tired.  Gimme a piggy back wide”…

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But especially when she laughs…

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These are the moments when I realize why I live, why I breathe, why I love…

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Liza,

Through you I see the future,

Through me you’ll see the past,

In the present we’ll love one another,

As long as these moments shall last.

(author unknown)

Happy birthday my angel!  It breaks my heart to be so far away but you’re in the biggest part of my heart every single day!