This Is What You Get When I Am Your Daughter

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Since it is Mother’s Day weekend, I thought it would be nice to give a shout out to my mom. So here is a poem that I wrote and hopefully you will pretend to like:

She’s much like my husband, a people magnet

Often confused for my sister, she’s so young & attractive.

Whenever that happens, I never cause a scene

Because I am hoping I inherited her genes!

My boys will say she’s the best cook in the state,

I have to agree her food really is pretty great!

She’ll say I’m the baby and call me a prima donna,

But I don’t really mind, cause I love my momma.

So here’s to you mom on this your special day,

It was cheaper than a card and your gift’s on the way!!

 

LOVE YOU MUCH MOM!! And yes people, my poem writing skills are available for hire…

 

 

The Kitchen Is Closed

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The Kitchen is closed… at least for a couple of days. Don’t get me wrong, it was WONDERFUL having all three of the boys home for the holidays but I have to admit, I’d forgotten how much of my time is spent in the kitchen while they are here. The best thing about the empty nest has been how easy it is to prepare food for two people neither of whom is a teenage male. I mean, when it is just the two of us we never run out of milk or bread but the boys had not been home for a day before I realized we were three sips away from a milk catastrophe!

Extra mouths also seemed to be more prevalent this holiday. My boys love their friends as do I, but not when they forget to tell me that they are all staying for dinner. Multiple times over the break, I’d realize about five minutes before meal time that there were anywhere from one to five extra guys in the house… oops! Hard to stretch seven corn muffins for ten people. Oh some of the time it was my own fault, I simply forgot there were extra people there but in my defense, a few times I didn’t even know there was one non-family member in the house much less four!

Yes, it was a wonderful holiday with some great memories made and stories that we’ll tell for years to come. Sure right now the house seems pretty quiet, and truthfully I really do miss the chaos of having them all here. But just between me and you, my grocery bill and kitchen are glad for the break. Now, where did I put the book I was reading before they got home…

Black Monday

An oldie but a goodie...

An oldie but a goodie…

It’s a REALLY sad day in my house…one I dread for months. No, it’s not the day the boys go back to school it is WAY worse. It’s the very last College football game for seven months. WHAT?!?! Now it’s true, I have plenty in my life to keep me occupied. But why does college football have to end just when the weather gets so cold, grey and windy? At least during the spring and summer, we have the sunshine and being outdoors to keep us occupied but winter? Yeah, nothing.

It’s funny because by this point in the year Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack feel like family we’ve spent so much time together!! And yes, like any family, we have had our differences (especially with you Herbbie! Don’t act like you didn’t pick against me on purpose…I know you did.) But as I’ve told you before my TV practically turns itself on for College Game Day every Saturday morning. I admit I don’t sit down and watch every second but it’s perfect for me as I prepare our game day noshes. It’s like my own game day ritual only I get to stay warm/cool and then enjoy a seat on the fifty yard line for every game.

So I will just endeavor to enjoy tonight’s game to the fullest. We’ll have our classic game day foods, we’ll all be in our spots and, if our luck holds, it will be a good, close game. (Yeah, when you don’t have a dog in the hunt a close game is WAY more fun… sorry Auburn & Florida State fans.) Just make sure you don’t call me early in the morning… because not only will I be tired from staying up so late because of the five overtimes (my blog, my dream) but I can promise I’ll also be in a mood so bad it make take more than two cups of coffee. Yes, I eventually get over the fact that the college football season is over… but people, let’s keep it real… it’s going to take a while!

My Boi Kittle

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I gave birth to three sons, but in reality we have a fourth son. He came into our family when he was about seven years old and not matter what we do, we cannot get him to leave! Yeah, this is not a “Blind Side” kind of story. Nope, this it’s more like Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver…I kid, I kid! It’s really like Fred and Barney from The Flintstones. Two guys who are good separate but better (and full of trouble!) together.

Will Kittle (Kittle in my house since i already have a Will) played soccer at the YMCA with Luke when they were little boys. They became fast friends who despite going to different schools until college, remain best friends to this day (I like to think Kittle is Luke’s Lynne… except they break more stuff and eat more food!) So as is want to happen, over the years of the boys being together, he just became family. I can’t even begin to count the nights he spent at my house nor the meals he’s shared with us and vice versa at the Kittle house. So much time together that both my other two boys are almost as close to him as Luke is.

Now don’t misunderstand, it has not always been smooth sailing with these two. Oh no! There was a time amidst broken school bus windows, destroyed furniture and conversations with the youth pastor about their latest “incident” at church when I thought I would pull their hair out if they didn’t calm down and straighten up! But not only did they straighten up, Kittle and Luke have become fine young men who are both excelling at Georgia Tech (yes, Ga Tech even though for most of his life, Kittle, bled the red and black of the University of Georgia BullDawgs!)

I love the fact that even if Kittle is only home a few hours, we get a visit. Heck, he comes by to visit whether Luke is here or not. Like I said, he’s our fourth and cheapest son… we’ve yet to pay a dime for his college tuition! Now food on the other hand…

The Boys of Winter?

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As basketball season gets started, I realize how different our life has become. This time last year we were marking up the calendar with all of the basketball games in Matt’s senior season. You don’t realize with your first born how much you are going to miss not only them, but their activities when they are gone. So this year, I can’t help but be thankful that last year I didn’t miss a game.

You guys know I am a huge fan of football but I am also a big fan of high school basketball. Maybe it’s because all of my boys have played since they were little and two of them continued to play in high school, maybe it’s because we have a basketball court in our back yard and I adore seeing the boys and their friends play, maybe it’s because I was a basketball cheerleader all through my high school years and loved the fast pace of the game. Whatever it is, I know that there is nothing like the feel of a high school gym packed out with people waiting on the game to start. There is an energy and excitement that nothing else matches. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s inside… you know I hate the cold!

What I won’t miss is the stress! I just can’t help it, if I have a dog in the hunt I’m not a calm person. I get super excited and really love the intensity of a fast paced game but people, when one of my boys is on the team it is S T R E S S F U L!! Now, I can’t tell you what the team’s record was last year, but I know there were far too many close games. Games that were decided by last minute shots and overtime… knowing we would either be crazy happy or devastated the whole ride home. No, I won’t miss that part of the game.

What I will miss the most is the car ride home which consisted of good food (that had to be bad for us!) and great conversation. There is nothing like the residual energy after a game, win or lose. We’d be driving home from wherever and get to have some of the best talks ever. So this year as the season gets started I’ll be a bit sad knowing all the conversations that won’t take place and all the really good food that was oh so bad for us that won’t be eaten!! Taco Bell anyone??

So Much To Be Thankful For

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I’ve been married for 24 years and made it this far before having to cook Thanksgiving dinner all by myself. Yep, we’ve always celebrated with family so at most I’ve brought a few sides and pies so this was a big adventure. No, we were not asked to leave the family but all the celebrations were in our hometown of Carrollton this year and with all three boys home we decided to stay here in Augusta so that they could catch up with their friends.

Now the four of you who read this may or may not know that I am a notoriously bad cook. It’s not that I don’t have the intelligence to follow a recipe it’s that I simply don’t pay attention to the details like I should (OOPS!) But this year is going to be the year that I master cooking. And people, so far so good. The food turned out amazing (I swear my family kept raving about how good it was…seriously, I’m not kidding!) Between my mom and google I found easy to follow recipes for everything I fixed from sides to pies to dressing to turkey. I didn’t even freak when Matt’s five friends spent the night… found a breakfast casserole recipe for that!!

Truly it just may have been the best Thanksgiving ever for a lot of different reasons. For the first time, Tim and I decided to live on the boy’s schedule and all I can say is there is nothing like starting a three hour movie at midnight… it helps knowing you can sleep as late as you want the next day. What a week! Of course there was wrestling (told you it would happen), but also tiddly winks, back porch sessions, good food, great conversations, incredible football games and more late night movies than any of us can remember. It’s funny, just when your kids become enjoyable human beings, you ship them off to college. Thank goodness for college breaks!! Now, on to Christmas…

30 Years And Counting…

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We’ve been friends for 30 years… 30 YEARS PEOPLE!! That is a really long time to continue liking someone who is not family and we not only like each other, we truly love each other and cannot imagine doing life without the others. We’ve definitely had our share of STUFF- cancer, divorce, career changes, infertility, marriage issues, faith crisis, children and so on but the one constant? Unfailing love and support.

It started innocently enough, we were at cheerleading camp the summer before heading into our junior year of high school. Each room was a suite for four people so my best friend and I looked around to find two unsuspecting souls others to share a room with us. Our eyes locked with theirs and a beautiful friendship was born. I know most of you found your dearest and best friends in college. Maybe you were sorority sisters or were random roommates/hall mates but we are part of the smallest friend group in the world- lifelong friends from high school. We didn’t go to the same college, in fact we set off to three different schools yet we not only stayed best friends we became closer with every year.

Once all the kids were old enough (we have 11 amongst the 4 of us) we decided it was time for some girl trips. (I’m sure when you think of girl trips you think of wild, crazy, not family friendly times but we are a different breed… no, we are NOT boring, just different thank you) We can spend an entire weekend watching movies, eating amazing food, playing cards and talking, lots and lots of talking. I use the term “watching movies” loosely because we’ve started hundreds of movies on these trips and yet only Shawn and I tend to see the endings. I don’t care if we start the movie at 8:00pm, Kay and Lynne are just not going to make it to the end. It’s like it is engrained in their brains to release melatonin and fall asleep before the ending. I’m seriously not making this up people!! Inevitably breakfast is spent with Shawn and me recapping the movie for the sleepy heads sometimes having to start from almost the beginning (Lynne has actually fallen asleep before the opening credits finished but don’t tell her I told you, K?) Is it weird? Yes, but it’s just what we do.

Now that the kids are mostly in high school and up, we’ve gotten more creative with our trips. When you have four people splitting one room you can afford to go places that are super nice like the St Regis or the Ritz-Carlton (feel free to comp our room hotel people) and that is exactly what we do. We’ve started working our way through the east coast Ritz-Carlton’s one by one always staying at club level. Why club level you ask? One word, MACAROONS. Yep, Lynne is our self-proclaimed travel agent and she is in LOVE with macaroons. (I think she single handedly created the great macaroon shortage in Key Biscayne Florida in the summer of 2012 but I can’t prove it.) Another perk of staying at club level at the Ritz? ADULT ONLY POOL. Hello!! We’re there to enjoy a break from our family so it’s the perfect place to hang out and what else, talk.

So ladies, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of being the Awesome Foursome, I want to take this time to thank you. Thank you for not sharing with my kids all the trouble I may or may not have gotten into, times that I made a fool of myself in front of a boy and most importantly, how gifted I am with a roll of toilet paper and a few trees. Remember, I know your secrets too!

Food For Thought

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Yes I grew up in the South, yes I am a southern girl by the grace of God but I can promise you my culinary palette is not southern by any means. My dad, while southern born, was raised in New Jersey with a Yankee dad and Southern mom. My mom, an adventurous southerner belle. So add one tour of duty in Vietnam, three kids in three years and you have nothing close to normal!

Take regular week night meals for example, most people grew up eating a meat, one to two veggies, bread and maybe dessert. Me? My mom and dad are AMAZING cooks, so one night we’d have Hungarian goulash the next night Lo Mein then Swedish meatballs followed by Chile Rellenos ending with Meatloaf. That truly was a typical week in my house. (Don’t even get me started on my paternal grandfather’s specialty, Spanish Dish. YUM!!) So you can understand my intrigue with the traditional “meat & three” meal served by my mother-in-law the first time I ate with them. (Silly me, I thought she cooked different!)

Holiday meals in my family? Amazing! Since both sets of grandparents lived within an hour of each other we’d get two feasts per holiday. At Granny’s we’d have a straight up traditional southern meal: turkey, cornbread dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, Le Sueur peas, green beans, cranberry sauce and hot yeast rolls. At Mom Weber’s house? Yankee all the way: standing rib roast with au jus, stuffing, creamed onions, mashed rutabagas and carrots, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding. But the best holidays occurred once we got to be adults and both families would come to my parents’ house where we’d mix both Southern and Yankee. It was the BEST!

Once I married, I began to realize how blessed I was to grow up with parents who can best be described as culinary adventurist. Me? Didn’t really rub off on me…. I’m cooking more and getting better in the kitchen but let’s be honest, I still have a long way to go!!

World Peace and Cheese Dip

If I was forced at gun point to choose my favorite food (cause that could happen), there is NO DOUBT what it would be. Ask anyone in my immediate family and they’d know along with most of my Nashville friends. Why my Nashville friends you ask? Well a good portion of them agree with me (right Ans, Katy, Annie, Kelli, Graham?) You see we all believe that the only thing necessary to achieve world peace is to make everyone involved gather around a bowl of cheese dip. Yep, I said cheese dip. Now this would be no ordinary cheese dip but MEXICAN RESTAURANT cheese dip… with fresh tortilla chips (I’m drooling… you?)

I love Nashville for a thousand reasons but the biggest one is the people. Because y’all, I’ve found these are my Mexican restaurant, cheese dip loving peeps. On any given trip to Nashville, there will be at least one trip to eat Mexican… if it’s a really good trip, we’ll go twice. I’m not talking Chipotle or Moe’s (even though they have tasty food) nope, I’m talking what we call dirty Mexican. Meaning that when they bring you your food, the plate’s not pretty and all they’re going to get back is an empty, dirty plate from a satisfied customer.

Truthfully, I could eat Mexican food three meals a day and one of my most favorite trips ever was when Tim took me to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico. We couldn’t do much since Tim had an emergency appendectomy on Saturday before we left on Thursday, but just between you and me, that made it better because all we could do was hang out by the pool and EAT (understanding now why it was my favorite vaca ever!!) I could lie to you and say that my favorite part was just being with Tim or the pool sitting, but why lie?? It was really all about the food for me. I ate quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos and even tacos for BREAKFAST. With fresh guacamole, sour cream and cheese dip…. this girl was in heaven.

Unfortunately, we can never go back to this particular resort… no, not because of anything we did but simply because it would never match up to that first trip. I never mess with perfection when it concerns food. There is absolutely no reason to go back and taint the amazing memories I have. So, I guess the next time Tim wants to take me on a once in a lifetime trip, he’ll just have to do his research and make sure they know their food. You think there’s any good Mexican restaurants in Paris???