Friday, July 31, 2009

This is how we do it...

Today was supposed to be a lazy day of doing absolutely nothing. Supposed to be. Instead, I was on the go most of the day! Mom, Dad and Tanner got out here to the house at about 8 this morning to pick up Grace and head to Ft. Worth. They're spending the weekend at Mema & Papa's house and seeing family that lives there. Gene had to work at 8 this morning so after Grace left I was here all by myself. It was so nice! I had planned to lay back down after Grace left because I went to bed late last night but I was too awake to do that. So, I watched part of the Today show and Gene called me about 4 times within about 45 minutes. He had asked me to run to Walgreen's and pick up his prescription and then take him his shotgun because he had to qualify today.
Remember....supposed to be.
So, I ended up showering and leaving the house just before 11. I met Gene and Ti (the county
deputy Gene works interdiction with...and yes that's really how he spells his name because his real name is Tion) at Oseguera's for lunch and to give him his gun then after that I ran to Walgreen's. After I picked up his prescription I was walking back through the store and walked past some tote bags. There was one that caught my eye and after looking closely at it I saw that it was only $5!! Woohoo! And it was so super cute! They only had one of them so I bought it!
I was going to go home then but instead decided to drive up to Springdale and take my new bag to Bella's to have my name monogrammed on it!! I had been texting Mom back and forth checking on Grace and I had told her about my bag. She had said she'd like to have one so I ran in the Springdale Walgreen's since I was passing right by it and they ended up having one just like it! Only one again. So I bought it for her!
Then I really did come home. I had planned on making a cajun chicken pasta for dinner and then Gene called me and said that after he qualified he had to go up to Arvest Stadium to do a dog demo at the Naturals baseball game. They were having a dedication night to heroes and wanted a demo by the K9's. So....Gene ran home, picked me up, drove to Springdale so he could qualify, then to the pd to have his car washed and then out to Arvest Stadium!
What started out only being one of our K9's there ended up being 5 dogs total! Gene & Aros, Chamberlin & Aldo (our other one), Robin & Blecky (from Fayetteville PD), Ti & Yari (from Washington County SO) and Joe & Koty (also from Washington County SO). There was a parade first of several different emergency services vehicles and all the K9 vehicles went in last. We all stopped along center field and they took turns doing demos. Joe & Koty went first and did some dope work. They had laid out 3 suitcases and one of them had drugs in it. Koty did a passive alert by sniffing all of them and then just lying down next to the one with drugs in it. Then Chamberlin & Aldo did dope work. Aldo does an aggressive alert, which means when he finds the one with drugs in it he starts scratching and barking and biting at it.

Gene and Aros went next with bite work. Joe had put on the bite sleeve and Aros sent him in to attack. He did great and backed off the first time Gene called him off and then Gene sent him in again. He did great!! After Aros was up, Robin went for Blecky. Robin wasn't even able to get the leash on him, he just shot out of the truck and after the decoy (Joe) which actually turned out awesome because it looked incredibly real! He called off quickly then Robin did the pat down. While Robin was patting down the decoy Blecky was lying in front of him. Blecky isn't supposed to do anything but watch unless the decoy (which obviously is usually the bad guy) moves then he bites again. Well, the decoy moved so Blecky attacked again. Very cool. However, you couldn't pay enough to be the decoy and wear the bite suit!

Anyways, after Blecky went Ti & Yari went. Now, they did it a little differently. We had a pickup out on the field and Joe was sitting in the driver's seat with the window rolled down. Ti was yelling at Joe to get out of the car and Joe was yelling at Ti. After Joe didn't comply Ti sent Yari in. Yari grabbed the sleeve and literally pulled Joe out of the window of the truck. It was crazy to watch!! Those dogs are sooo strong!

We had the option of staying for the game but decided not to. We were both hot after standing outside for so long and ready to eat dinner and come home. So we brought Aros home then went back into town to eat dinner. We made it back home and I showered while Gene mowed the lawn. Now I'm sitting on the couch and about to fall asleep!

My day was alot more eventful than I had originally planned on it being but it was a fun day. I didn't have to worry about taking care of kids and just kind of did my own thing. Plus I got to spend alot of my day with my husband in a different atmosphere than we usually do. I love watching him as an officer and especially as a K9 handler because it's so amazing to me. He's so good at what he does and Aros is such a good dog and people are just in awe of them!

The pictures that I posted are actually from this past Tuesday night while they were training. All the area K9s train together on a weekly basis and this week they decided to do water bites. It's not something they do often but need the practice because you never know when it might happen in real life. Gene had taken our camera and got some really cool shots of the other dogs but there's way too many to post on here so I'll just share my favorite team with you!!! The fist one is of Gene taking off Aros's leash off and telling him to attack and bite (only they use a German word that I have no idea how to spell!!). The second one is, of course, Aros bounding through the water and the third is of the bite.

Like I said...craziness. The dogs are amazing and all of the K9s in this area are imported dogs. Aros, who is a German Shepard, is from the Netherlands. I know for sure that Yari and Aldo, who are also both shepards, are from Hungary. Robin's dog Blecky, is a solid black shepard, but I'm not sure where he's from. Joe's dog Koty is actually a Belgium Mallemaulle and they are the fastest stinking dogs. Gene said they can run upwards of 40 mph and both they and shepards are insanely strong. They are just an amazing breed of animal.

I love being a part of the law enforcement world, most of the time!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

That's Life

Last night when I got to Mom & Dad's to pick Grace up after work Dad was sitting out in the garage in his rocking chair working a crossword puzzle. This is very typical of him, he loves to sit outside in the quiet and work his puzzles. Anywho...I pulled up and we got to talking. Dad and I don't ever have the opportunity (or make the opportunity either I guess) to sit and visit for any length of time so last night we sort of played catch up.

Now, keep in the mind the fact that I don't even get off of work until 10 pm so by the time I got to the house it was about 10:15 and we stayed outside talking for an hour and a half! When I finally walked in the house Grace was passed out on the couch in front of Mom and she looked like she was about to pass out too. She said "Have a nice visit?!" Oops! I didn't realize we'd been out there so long, but she knows that Dad and I don't do that often so she didn't care!

It was nice. An eye opener and a reminder of how incredibly wonderful my parents are and have always been. Some know and some don't know about the history of my relationship with Gene and some rough waters we travelled after we first got together.

Suffice it to say, I was 20 years old at the time and Gene was 33. He was a divorced father of 2 pre-teen boys and my parents were initially NOT ok with it. At all. I had moved out for the first time into an apartment with my best friend Stephanie and one month later was when Gene and I began our relationship. I won't even begin to go into all of what took place because quite frankly if you don't already know the nitty gritty of it then it's just none of your business!! However, I will say that from September '05 to May '06 my life changed completely.

I was head over heels in love with Gene and knew that I was going to marry him the first time I saw him sitting up in dispatch in full uniform with his feet propped up on the desk eating a Subway sandwich!! I had been working at the police department for maybe 2 weeks and was still very shy and didn't really talk to anybody. Long story short, we kept seeing each other downstairs and then after I was moved to evening shift for my training (the shift he was working at the time) he began frequenting dispatch....a lot!! He was always friends with everyone in dispatch and would visit occasionally but he began coming up everday we worked together and would hang out for about an hour before he had to go to briefing. Oh how I loved him. Finally after some help from the girls I was working with at the time he got my phone number from one of them and called me. I remember it was a Wednesday night (September 21st) and I had just got home from work and I was talking to Steph about him. Then my phone rang. I already recognized the number because I had had to call him out the week before for a K9 track and remembered his number!! I was so excited and I'm pretty sure that we talked until 1 that morning when he got off work. Like I said, I was absolutely crazy about him. And he about me. Which was really nice. He was older and mature and didn't act like a typical "guy" because he was a father and responsible and instantly took care of me. Nothing has changed over the last almost 4 years.

Like I said, my parents were not ok with our relationship. I am not a rebellious person by nature and I sure as heck was not a trouble maker growing up. Tanner and I were really never in trouble, serious trouble anyway, just the picking on one another sibling rivalry way! I never acted out or fought with parents and always did what I was told. Except when it came to my love for Gene. I pretty much told them that I would be with him no matter what and there was nothing they could do about it. There was a period of time where we didn't speak much, especially my dad and I. I can not even begin to put into words how incredibly hard that was for me and for them I know too. We were a very very very tight and close family growing up. My parents protected us from the evil ways of the world and always made sure our home was a "safe harbor" in the words of my Dad. We had no idea the kind of hurt that was the world. I got a taste of reality after I started at the police department because obviously that's about all we deal with, is the evil.

So, anyways, our relationship (mine and my parents) was on a slippery slope downhill. This was all the first part of 2006. I must say, that Gene and I hit it off and were together all the time. We talked and talked and talked and he would still come up and visit and bring Aros (K9) up to visit. I first met the boys in November '05 while I was working one Sunday afternoon and they had just bought Bear (our rat terrier) and brought him up to the pd to see me. The boys were very quiet and very polite the whole time. It was a little odd but not bad. I didn't see them again until February '05, the first time I went to Gene's house. He and his ex wife had agreed when they divorced that they would not bring people they were dating in and out of their lives. I was more than ok with that. I told Gene I was ready when he was ready. So, the boys and I clicked right from the start. They are both such great kids that it's unbelievable. They were respectful and polite and we were instantly friends. My biggest thing was not coming into their lives as a "mother" but more as a "friend." That approach apparently worked because we have never once had a problem. I must also say to that Gene's ex wife is incredibly nice and she and I have never once had issues either. Thank goodness! That made our relationship that much easier knowing I didn't have to worry about that.

Mid June '05 I was due to start my period and was a week late. Honestly, I didn't think anything of it. I had been cramping and just knew I would start anyday now. Well, at the time I was working with Stephanie (another Steph) and she and I had been on the same cycle for a while and we were both late. She kept asking me if I had started. Nope, not yet. So, one night at work we're sitting there talking and Kara (another co-worker) says we should take pregnancy tests. What? I wasn't pregnant, but whatever. So, Kara sent Christina (her trainee at the time) to Wal-Mart to by some pregnancy tests. She gets back. I go first. I know longer pee on the silly thing and the "pregnant" sign pops up. Holy moly. I didn't believe it. I just walked back into the room laughing. Steph went next. Same thing.

I wanted a second opinion so we sent Christina back to Wal-Mart for another pregnancy test. This time the digital one. I didn't want just a little line, I wanted it to say either "pregnant" or "not pregnant." Well....guess what that one said...."pregnant." I was excited. Not scared. Not freaked out (ok well maybe a little freaked out). I was excited. Gene and I had already talked about having kids together and I know what you're thinking and no, we were not married.

Another big deal. I was a Christian and had grown up in church and youth group and going on mission trips. I loved the Lord. I still do, more than anything. Now, obviously, that is not the way it was supposed to happen. Cart before the horse so to speak, but that's the way it was. Gene was excited also.

Once again, I won't go into the nitty gritty of what happened over the next couple of months because I don't want to re-visit some of that. But, my parents came around once they realized Gene (and the boys) weren't going anywhere and that we had made them grandparents.

So...I got pregnant in May and Gene and I were married that December. Grace made her beautiful appearance into this world the following February!! I sit here and look at her now and do not regret one step or action that I made because if something were different I wouldn't have my sweet girl!!! I am so completely consumed in my children and my role as their mother and honestly I wouldn't have it any other way!

Ok, back to last night and the talk Dad and I had. The relationship between Dad and Gene has been cordial since our marriage and they have never once been cross or nasty towards one another. They both love me enough to not do that. Anyways, Dad told me last night that he had no ill will towards Gene and that he wanted to have a good friendship with him and that he wanted Gene to know that he totally respects him as my husband, as a daddy, as an officer, and as a man. Melt my heart. He also told me he was proud of me. I almost cried. Now, don't think for one minute that it was the first time he'd ever told me he was proud of me because that is SO not true!! He's told me that on hundreds of occasions, but last night was different. I wasn't standing there as a high school graduate or a new hire at the police department or as a little girl who just learned how to ride a bike. I was standing there as his daughter, as a mother, as a wife, and as a grown woman. He told me he was proud of me and the life I had created.

He told me that he and Mom don't have to worry about me because he knows that Gene and I stand on our own two feet and take care of what is ours and that we are responsible and mature. We laughed because he told me how he always tells everyone how I "hit the ground running" as far as growing up goes. I moved out at 20, pregnant and married at 21, and financially responsible and grown up now at 24 (well sometimes grown up...when I'm not goofing with my kids)!! I told him that's because I was taught how to be a responsible adult. My parents took good care of us but they didn't hand us everything we wanted/asked for. We had to work for it.

I am forever grateful for my parents and for my husband and the relationship I have with each. My life has changed dramatically over the last 4 years and though there were some really rough patches I survived and I'm a better person because of it. God has blesssed me in ways I really don't deserve and yet here I am. I am eternally grateful to Him for that!!!

Daddy - I love you more than anything and you are the perfect daddy for me!!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

As Requested...

Here's the recipe for pizza crust and how we make our pizzas!! This is just for you Nic!!!

Easy Pizza Dough
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
1 pkg. yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 cup hot water
2 tbsps. vegetable oil
In medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, and salt. Add water and oil. With mixer on low speed beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Gradually stir in remaining flour to make a firm dough. On floured surface knead dough 10 to 12 times. Cover, let rise for at least 15 minutes.
Now, when I make it I use 2 large pizza pans that I bought at Wal-Mart with the holes in the bottom of it so I make 2 whole recipes of dough and it's just the right amount for the big pans. You don't have to preheat the oven, just turn it to 425 degrees when you put your first one in. We like lots of cheese so we use 2 lbs of monterrey jack cheese and 2 lbs of mozzarella cheese. Grate it all and mix it together. Make sure to spread flour across your counter and then spread your dough out to fit your pan. I typically buy the Ragu brand pizza sauce but I have a recipe for sauce I'm going to try next time. Spread the sauce across the crust and then spread your toppings of choice on the sauce. You can really use anything you want. If you like italian sausage or hamburger make sure to brown the meat first. I chopped up one green pepper and half of an onion for ours.
On the first one I spread half of the browned hamburger meat (I used 2 lbs total) and then on the other half spread out pepperonis, crumbled browned italian sausage, green peppers and onion. Top it with cheese. Put it in the oven and turn it to 425, it had to bake for almost 30 minutes. You'll know when all the cheese is golden brown and you should be able to lift the edge of the crust with a fork to make sure it's done on bottom.
I repeated the steps for the second pizza!! Then just enjoy!! It really is pretty easy and a fun meal you can make with your kids.
Here's the sauce recipe too if you want to try it:
Pizza Sauce
1 can tomato puree
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. onion powder
2 tsps. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
Blend well.
I would love to tell you how much this makes but honestly I have no idea so you'll just have to play around with it!!!

One Year (and 2 day) Blogiversary!!!

I had full intentions of getting this post done on Friday, which was my actual one year blogiversary but that didnt happen! So, here we are one year and two days later and I'm still blogging along!

I had written my first post and had about a handful of people that even read it and now I've met tons of new people from all over and have a lot more people that read it on a regular basis. I still love blogging because it gives me an excuse to talk about what's going on in my life and post pictures of my beautiful family and it matters not to me if just my mom reads it or if hundreds of people read it!! Ok, actually I like to see when new people check out my blog because I think it's neat but that's beside the point.
Anyways, I'll continue to write and participate in blog carnivals and in blog hops and continue to meet new people!! And if you're a reader of "The Johnson Family" I just wanna say thanks and I really appreciate your interest in our lives!!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

"I don't wanna be big Momma!!"

Today was probably one of the best Fridays I've had in a while! It started off great because I slept in till 11 because Grace stayed with her Nana & Papa last night so the boys and I slept in!! After I finally decided to get up I paid bills (which was not part of the whole best day!) and then the boys and I got around and ready to take Colt to the doctor. After the doctor we got groceries and then picked Grace up from Mom and Dad's. We stayed and talked for a while then had to hurry home to get our groceries unloaded!

After we got groceries put away we all headed outside to play for a while since the weather has been so nice the last couple of weeks. It's amazing how much it changed after the last set of storms came through. It's been in the upper 70s to mid 80s and then in the upper 50s at night but during the day has been so much more tolerable because the humidity levels have been very unseasonably low. So a day in the 80s hasn't felt like it because it's not so humid!! Gene has been gone all week at a class in Iowa (he finally got home tonight...yay!!!) and he asked me last night if I'd been checking his garden. Oops. Not really. So, tonight I got out there and tended to it some. Like I've said before, the only plants that have made it are our squash, tomatoes and bell peppers and we've actually had some really good squash out of it. Well, tonight I pulled one off of there that was, no exaggerating, 2 ft long. It is insane! I'll post a picture of it tomorrow, but anyways, I watered it and weeded some. We couldn't find our sprinkler from last year so I went over the front part of our lawn up close to the house because it was looking a little dry. Of course the boys are boys and decided it would be hilarious to pour a pitcher of water on me. Thanks guys!! They must have not seen the waterhose in my hand and I most definitely paid them both back!! Grace just kept running back and forth through the hose so we were all soaked by the time we went in!! It's all good though, we had fun!

After our water wars we came in and changed and I started getting stuff ready for dinner. I had decided to make homemade pizza and the boys love it because they help make them!! Growing up Mom would make homemade pizza quite a bit and it was always mine and Tanner's favorite! We called it Momino's instead of Domino's!! Our pizza tonight turned out so incredibly wonderful! was so good! I made the dough from scratch and we made 2 large ones. They were both half hamburger and half pepperoni, italian sausage, green peppers and onions!! And of course they both had a TON of cheese on them!!!! I was texting Mom pictures of them and I'm pretty sure she was mad at me by the time we got done eating because she wasn't here to join in the festivities. I did tell her I would save her some though!! Corey took some next door to Gene's dad and he said it was awesome and that he wanted the recipe. Score!!!

Corey had requested almost 2 weeks ago that I make a Butterfinger cake and today was the first opportunity I'd had to do it so....after I got the mess cleaned up from dinner I made him one! Of course it's not exactly part of my diet but I did treat myself to a very small piece of it. And I only had 2 pieces of pizza...and I didn't eat lunch today so that was my calories from lunch I didn't use!

I took a shower and gave Grace a bath and Gene got in around 9:30. Grace was very very excited to see her daddy!! She was not excited, however, when I told her that all of her pacis had gone bye-bye. The part I didn't tell her was that Mommy hadn't exactly planned for them to leave so abruptly but we left the last one at Nana & Papa's because Mommy thought we had another one here. Hmmmm....we looked all over the house for one when we got home and there was not one in sight. So....once we realized this we all started telling Grace that she was a big girl now and that all of her pacis had gone bye-bye to help other little babies! After I brushed her teeth before taking her upstairs to bed I said "So you're gonna be a big girl now and not sleep with a paci?" She looked up at me with the saddest face and said "I don't wanna be big Momma!!" Awww..broke my heart and I was really dreading putting her in bed without it. Luckily, she only whined for it a couple of times and that was it. Funny thing though, I was laying down on her bedroom floor waiting for her to fall asleep and I kept hearing her making sucking sounds because she's so used to going to sleep with a paci in her mouth! I smiled and then almost cried. My baby is growing up.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Favorite Recipe Blog Hop!!!

Ohh...I can't wait to "hop around" to all the fun blogs with favorite recipes on them!! I've decided to post 2 of my favorite recipes, both of them are courtesy of my Aunt Cathy!! She makes the best lasagne and the best Butterfinger Cake. After the first time I made each of them they became favorites around our house and now my family requests them! So, here ya go.....

16 oz. grated mozzarella cheese
2 lbs. ground beef (I usually also add a package of Italian sausage, but I partially cook it first)
2 cans stewed tomatoes
2 envelopes spaghetti sauce mix
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
8 oz. box lasagne noodles
1 cup cottage cheese (I really like ricotta cheese in it too so I'll mix 3/4 cups cottage cheese with just a little more than 1/4 cup ricotta cheese)
Brown the meat, spoon off excess fat. Add the next 4 ingredients. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes stirring occasionally. Cook noodles according to box directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. Place half the noodles in dish, cover with 1/3 sauce, add half the cheese and half of the cottage cheese (or cottage/ricotta cheese mixture). Repeat layers ending in sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 hour. I will let it bake for about 45-50 minutes, pull it out and top with some more grated mozzarella cheese then continue baking for about 10 minutes.
It's absolutely delicious and one of my family's favorite meals!!!

Butterfinger Cake
1 yellow cake mix
1 can Eagle brand milk
1 tub Cool Whip
1 jar caramel topping
6 Butterfingers
Mix cake as directed and bake at 350 degrees. Poke holes in cake while hot. Mix caramel, Eagle brand milk and 3 crushed Butterfingers and pour over cake while hot. Cool completely and top with Cool Whip and sprinkle with 3 crushed Butterfingers.
It's better after it's been refrigerated for a while so it's cold through and through and you can use fewer Butterfingers depending on how much you like!!

Ok, so there are 2 of my favorite recipes and I'm excited to check out everyone else's!!! If you try either of mine let me know what you think!!!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Friday, July 17, 2009

A (Base)Ball & A Work Out

Yesterday Mom, Grace and I drove down to Alma to stay at Granny's because my Aunt Cathy (Mom's sister) is in town from Atlanta. We didn't get down as early as we originally planned because I was cleaning house and that ended up taking longer than I anticipated. Nevertheless, we made it down around 2:30 and Grace absolutely loves coming to her Granny's house!

Grace definitely inherited her daddy's love of outdoors. That child would be outside all day everyday if we would let her. It was raining when we got here so after it stopped raining and the skies cleared Grace was ready to go outside with Granny. So off they went! Granny had pulled out her broom to sweep some of the leaves and sticks off of the patio and some rugs to sit on the wet swing. Grace decided she could do a better job I guess than Granny so she confiscated the broom and went to work!

She got bored pretty quickly with the broom and just started running back and forth up and down the little hill in Granny's backyard. Aunt Cathy made some terriyaki chicken, salad and fried okra for dinner that was yummy and I did so good sticking to my diet!!

Before we ate dinner Grace and Granny were talking money and Grace was using her coasters as $5 and $20 bills! She kept buying stuff and then Grace would have Granny sign like it was a credit card receipt and while Granny was signing it she would say "I'm signing it Ruby Ball" and they were practicing Granny's real name. About 30 minutes later while we were eating dinner we were asking Grace what Granny's real name is and she looked confused so we all said "Ruuuuby" and she said it after us then we asked what her last name was and she said "Baseball!!" How funny is that?! We just started cracking up, so now Granny is Ruby Baseball instead of Ruby Ball!!

Since our whole family has started exercising and working out more Grace always has to be right in the middle of it and last night she decided it was time for her and Aunt Cathy to do their workout! they are doing "crunchies" as Grace calls it! I had a really funny video to upload and I tried several times and couldn't ever get it to load. They did crunches, leg lifts, push ups and leg lifts! Of course, I think Aunt Cathy was doing all the work!! After they started their second set of crunches Grace just stood up, put her hands on her hips and said "I'm done!"

I had a really cute picture of them together that I literally just managed to delete. Frustrating. Anyways, I'll post it later with some pictures from our lunch at Cracker Barrel earlier today. Granny had a stress test done at the hospital this morning and then Grace and I met them for lunch. Now we're just hanging out at the house relaxing!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quick Note

Just wanted to make a quick note. I'm eating my ham and cheese sandwich and baked Lays before I go take a shower to get ready for work. I worked out arms last night after work and then ran with 2 other girls I work with and I did a P90X work out this morning. I'm feeling very encouraged at the rate I'm losing weight and am trying to keep myself optimistic and on a steady eating and work out schedule so it will continue to come off.

If I keep on the track I'm on right now I can be to my goal weight by the end of November...just in time for Christmas!! I know most of you could really care less about this but it helps me to put it on paper and to see it!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

No Destination

Gene and I decided on a whim yesterday to take a motorcycle ride since I had the day off. Normally Steve and Jennie go with us but Steve wasn't able to take the day off because he's been the only one in the tattoo shop this week due to Billy being out of town, so Gene and I drove it alone!

We really had no specific destination in mind but headed out east and ended up travelling through 5 different counties and just under 200 miles in about 5 hours. It was such a great ride. We drove along the Mulberry River, along White Rock and through several small country towns that, to be honest, I could not even tell you the names of because we never saw signs!

After we made our 50th turn onto an unkown highway (not much exaggeration there!) I said to Gene "I think we're lost!" To which he replied, " You can't be lost if you don't even have a destination or know where you're going!" Dang. He got me there! However, I was beginning to wonder a little bit if we'd end up in a completely different state without even realizing it. We didn't. Thank goodness. We ended up literally running right into I-40 about 40 miles south of Fort Smith. We had travelled a long distance and ended up making a huge circle by the time we made it home.

The timing and location actually ended up being perfect because it was about 1:30 when we got onto I-40 and we would go right through Alma, where Granny lives, so I told Gene we needed to stop and surprise them because Aunt Cathy is here from Atlanta. So, that's where we headed and luckily they were at the house when we pulled up!! You just never know with Granny..especially when Aunt Cathy is here. They are busy girls!! They were very surprised to see us and it was a great water and a/c break for us! We stayed and visited for almost an hour before heading on home. I don't have any pictures from our adventure but I'll be sure to take the camera on our next one!

The boys were gone to the movies and Grace was gone with my in-laws to my brother-in-law's house when we got home so I was able to get showered, laundry going, and stuff together for dinner while Gene washed the motorcycle.

Steve and Jennie came out to join us for a yummy dinner of grilled pork steaks, green beans, mashed potatoes and fried squash and everyone made it back home all in time to eat! It was a wonderful day and by the time my head it the pillow I was flat worn out!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sooooo Excited!!

I'm so excited that my blog makeover is complete!!! What do you think?! I am so liking my new look and I want to say a special thanks to Kelly at Fabulous K Creative for making me over!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Just A Line...or Two

I don't have any pictures to post of my weekend and I don't really like posting without pictures but oh well. I don't really have a lot to share either! Yesterday Grace and I got haircuts and then we went to lunch with Mom at Guido's Pizza after I picked the boys up from their mom's. Tanner (my brother) works at Guido's and I hadn't seen him in a while so we decided to pay him a visit! Grace loves going to Guido's because alot of the employees know her and love playing with her! It was yummy...of course, but I only had 2 small pieces because I've been eating so much better and was proud of myself for the restraint!

Grace went home with Mom to stay the night and the boys and I came home to clean house. I accomplished all that I wanted to and a little bit more. The boys are such great help around the house! We finally finished around 8 pm and then ran in to Subway to have dinner. Gene was at work till 10 so after we ate we went to Gulley Park here in Fayetteville and ran for about 25 minutes. I would have liked to have gone longer but it got dark on us because we got there so late. It was certainly better than nothing and we had already worked out back and abs at home, which ended up being a mistake. I don't know what I was thinking doing that after I'd swept and mopped and that always makes my back hurt...then I decide to pick back to work out last night. Brilliant. My lower back has been killing me all day today! It was worth it though and I know it'll pay off.

This morning I slept in till just before 11, which felt great, because I'd stayed up late last night watching Australia when I should have gone to bed! I paid bills then Corey and I hit the post office and Wal-Mart for groceries. Oh how I HATE buying groceries. I'm seriously always broke after doing it! Prices have just gone up so much and it's depressing. Especially when you're feeding 5 people...two of them being teenage boys!

We finally made it home and got the groceries unloaded. Gene only worked about 5 hours today and after he got home decided to go for a ride on the motorcycle. Mom and Grace came out to the house and we all loaded up to go swimming. We got there a whole lot later than I intended and only stayed about an hour and a half. I was planning to make chicken enchiladas for dinner (at Corey's request) and they take a while so we didn't get long to swim. It was nice though!

I had asked Gene to put the chicken on to boil before we left the pool and by the time we got home he already had it boiled and all the stuff mixed up! All I had to do was roll the tortillas. They were absolutely delicious and definitely a hit. We had enough mixture for a whole big pan and then a whole small pan. The big pan was all but gone by the time we finished. I showed great restraint once again and had half of what I would have normally eaten!

I got the kitchen cleaned up and the boys and I went to the park again to run. Grace went to ride the 4-wheeler with her papa (Gene's dad) while her Mimi (Gene's mom) walked up and down our road. Gene was exhausted from having to be up earlier this week than normal for work and was asleep when we got home. Stan (Gene's dad) brought Grace home right after we got here and now everyone has had baths and most are asleep. Grace was exhausted and went right to sleep and I'm pretty sure it will be the same story for me!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Favorite Photo Blog Hop!

Man, I am telling you, this blog world is happening! There is always something going on and I love it! You meet such wonderful people from all over the place and it's just neat! I was reading Kelly's blog earlier and she, along with several several others, are participating in the "Favorite Photo Blog Hop" so I thought "what the hay?" I might as well join in the fun! are 3 of my favorite photos. All of them I've posted before but oh well, you can just enjoy them again!!
Colt & Grace's "love"

Gene & I on Valentine's Day 2009

And my kiddos at the pool for our first swim of Summer 2009!!!

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to checking out everyone else's favorite photos!!!

You can add your link to your "Blog Hop" post on any blog you read that is participating and then copy and past the "MckLinky" code into your post and voila! it's added to yours too!!! So go....have fun!!!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July Weekend

My "4th" post is a little bit delayed but I don't really have much to post about because I had to work Saturday wasn't that great for me! I love my job as a dispatcher but I have had to work more holidays than I have been off in the past 4 and a half years. Luckily I work with great people and they're like my second family so it's not horrible!!
Every year the city of Springdale has a 4th of July parade on the July 1st and the 4th. On the 1st it's at 3 in the afternoon and the 4th is 10 in the morning so the 4th is usually the one we go to because I go to work at 2 in the afternoon. The boys were with their mom that morning so Gene, Grace, and I met Mom at the pd parking lot to walk up to the parade. Grace looked really cute in her litte red, white and blue and her pigtails but I have no good bows for her so the hairdo was kind of boring! She always ends up messing it up anyways. She wasn't being very cooperative for the pictures either. It was cloudy the whole morning so it wasn't just unbearably hot and there was a slight breeze so it was good weather to be outside.

Once it finally got started we moved up to the curb so she could see better. She just kept switching back and forth between Gene, Mom and myself. She LOVED seeing the horses and just stood there waving at everyone!

We were awake early that morning though so she was getting really sleepy by the time it was over. Right as we were leaving Springdale headed home it started to pour down rain and then after we got home it started storming really bad. The boys got home and then I had to get in the shower to get ready for work.

Corey's best friend Rhianna came over and Colt's friend Sarah came over to hang out with them for fireworks. Grace, apparently, was pretty much attached to Rhianna and Sarah the whole time and never left them alone! Rhianna has been around for forever so Grace was already used to her!!

Two goofy kids! They played outside on the trampoline, took pictures, went swimming next door, ate lunch, shot off fireworks and just had a grand 'ol time! I got home at about 10:20 and they were still shooting of fireworks so we hung out till about 11 then called it a night. Grace was completely exhausted and covered in sweat and bug spray so I brought her in, gave her a bath and put her to bed. Her eyes were so heavy when I was putting her to bed that she was snoring by the time I finished reading her a bedtime story! I'm pretty sure we all slept good that night and then yesterday ate a big breakfast and hung out at home, that is, until I had to go to work! Saturday and Sunday night were both really busy after about 6 and I'm sure that pace will continue through the summer!
I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th this year and a very special thanks to all the men and women who serve our country and fight for our continued freedom!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Gotta Love Giveaways!!

So...I just discovered a new blog, Jenna's Journey, and she is hosting a giveaway!!

Seriously? Who doesn't love one of those? And they are the cutest pair of earrings so you should hop on over and check it out!! Just click here.

Friday, July 3, 2009

friday list

*I have to work tomorrow, which of course, is the 4th of July. Definitely one of the disadvantages of working in law enforcement, you don't get many holidays off.

*Today has been incredibly boring. We had talked about going to the Rodeo of the Ozarks that is held every year July 1-4 in Springdale but finances aren't the best right now so we'll be staying home.

*The boys are with their mom and won't be home until tomorrow. I wish they were here.

*My house is clean! I cleaned house ALL day yesterday and am very proud of how it looks. I even cleaned all the downstairs windows.

*Grace is watching Scooby-Doo right now. Surprising. I know.

*I woke up to the sound of thunder last night and it was fabulous to hear it raining also!

*Gene pulled the first squash out of garden this week! Pretty much the one squash plant, one tomato plant, and two bell pepper plants are all that survived our garden this year. Next year we will be doing it a little differently!

*I've lost 13 lbs in almost a month's time!!!!

*I've also been working out on a regular basis.

*I'm anxiously awaiting a blog makeover!! I wasn't going to say anything until it was all done, but I'm getting so antsy and am just waiting on Kelly, over at Fabulous K Creative, to send me an e-mail with the header proof for me to approve and then she can install it!! I'm so sick of how mine looks right now but it won't be like this much longer!

*Mom and I are taking Grace to the 4th of July parade in Springdale tomorrow morning!! I don't know if Gene is planning to go with us or not, but I know Grace will love it!

*Happy 4th of July!!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Then & Now

Summer 2007

Summer 2009