Thursday, February 26, 2009

Message Heard...Loud & Clear

I've gone from this (sorry about the quality, it's a picture of a picture)...

to this...

in just a few short years.

And no, I'm not talking about the toned thighs, arms and tummy (that's a whole other post). I'm talking about going from the tanning bed queen to the dermatologist's office for a follow up to an atypical biopsy.

As you can see from the more recent picture ~ the one with me contorted in all sorts of odd angles trying to get a picture of my own back ~ I have a good number of moles, freckles and other "sunkisses" as my Grandma George used to call them (yes I said GrandMa George, the name is yet another post in itself). Because of that abundance I try to go to the dermatologist fairly regularly and have my skinned checked. I've had numerous spots removed over the years, but didn't think any of them had been troublesome.

A couple weeks ago I went in for a regular body check and the PA removed two spots ~ one on my right thigh and one on my back. I didn't think anything else about it, I just assumed they would be normal like the others.

Well, earlier this week I told hubby I was going to start tanning again. I just look and feel so much better when I do. So on Tuesday I started calling around to local salons to find one that was open late enough for me to go after work. I wasn't having much luck at all, but decided I would keep trying. I was determined to tan!

That afternoon when I got home from work there was a message on our machine from the dermatologist's office asking me to call back. I called back yesterday morning and the nurse said one of my biopsies came back atypical, I needed to come back in today and have the doctor remove more of the spot to be biopsied again.

Here's where this wonderful thing called the internet gets me in trouble...the nurse gave me just enough information to be dangerous! I started looking up 'atypical skin biopsy' and got the range on responses...could be nothing, could be cancer, could be a mistake....everything. I decided not to worry ~ or at least to try not to worry ~ and just wait to see the doctor.

So hubby and I went in today and the nurse says, "Your biopsy was atypical with characteristics that can lead to melanoma."

HELLO!! The only thing I hear is 'melanoma'!

Then she says, "but the doctor can explain it better."

So the doctor comes in and tells us that my results were moderately atypical and while that can lead to melanoma sometimes it by no means means (means means?) that it is cancer.

OK, from now on I suggest just letting the doctor do the explaining, he's a whole lot better at it than the nurse!

For caution's sake he went ahead and did a larger biopsy and took off another spot to look at while we were there.

So, although today's results weren't bad (not great, but not bad) I still heard the message loud & clear and I've officially given up my search for a tanning salon!

On a much brighter note...


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Anticipation is Killing Me!

It's killing me, I mean it! Well, maybe not literally, but's it's really driving me crazy! Well, maybe I'm already crazy, but you know what I mean!

My very favorite middle sister-in-law (you like that, huh? I have a favorite oldest s-i-l and a favorite youngest s-i-l as well!) is expecting a baby and they find out tomorrow if it's a boy or a girl!!

I can't wait! I already have one niece and one nephew on my side of the family who I absolutely adore and want to eat up, but this will be the first on hubby's side!

It's been a long, often times heart-breaking process for my s-i-l and her hubby to get to this point but now that it's here it couldn't be sweeter! They are going to make that baby so proud to be theirs, I just know it!

And I just know that I'm going to be that baby's absolute favorite youngest aunt!

Note: I am well aware that this post is overflowing with !!!'s. Please be understanding, I'm really excited!...!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Imagine That

As I was cleaning this past weekend I could hear hubby in the family room laughing and cheering. When I went to see what all the fuss was about I found Charleigh playing her "pinano," also known as the cover over our fireplace (I'm sure there's a technical name for that, but it's early and I can't for the life of me remember what it is) and performing for her daddy and brother.

So you know I just had to get that on video! Her first performance is 'Twinkle Little Star.'

That performance was followed by 'Peanut Butter and Jelly,' an original by Charleigh.

All of the adjusting that you see at the beginning is Charleigh tuning up her "pinano." We think that all comes from her playing on her Grandma Grape's (great-grandmother) electronic keyboard.

She has the best imagination, and I love it!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's Become an Addiction

My name is Tamara and I'm addicted to organizing/decorating.
This is a new phenomenon for me, one that my husband is whole-heartedly supporting. After joining Nester's 10 Minute Makeover party and sprucing up my master bathroom, I spent the weekend making the family room, hall closet and Charleigh's room more 'imperfectly beautiful.'
I would have liked to get more done, but I had to take a few breaks for a birthday party, cookout and church. Cake, Steak and the Good Lord...can't beat that!
Anyway, back to the makeovers. I started with the family room on Saturday. Here's a few befores. It's a fairly large room (20 x 20) but with built in bookshelves and a crazy counter (more on that in a few minutes...don't go away, I need your help!) it's not my favorite space to arrange or decorate.

We started by rearranging the furniture and I must say I think this is my favorite layout so far. Then I decluttered everything and put all our junk in its rightful place (which I must admit for more things than not was the garbage!). Then after a quick trip to Wal-Mart (hey, we live in a small Southern town and Target has not graced our presence yet, there's one close but not here at home) I put out some new pillows, some artificial greenery (brownery?) and then rearranged pictures and other knick-knacks from around the house. Finally, I added a floor lamp to add some soft light and I must say I was pretty pleased with the end result.

Sunday afternoon saw me tackling the hall closet. I'm almost too embarassed to even show you the before. I would like to say I was raised better, and I was...but I also get it honestly.

My mama organized this for me a couple years ago when she was visiting (thanks Mama!) but since then it's gone back to the catch all closet. All I did in here was pull it all out, get rid of stuff we don't and won't use and organize the rest. Not really a big deal, but it sure does make me feel better to see it all neat and clean!

Then it was on to Charleigh's room. Again, I apologize dearly for what you are about to see. It's a disaster and I know it. I try, I really do.

This room is still a work in progress. We're getting a playhouse for the backyard that will soon house her kitchen and babydoll's items (stroller, crib, highchair). Once those have all moved out I'll come back in and do the decorating. But for today I was proud of the organization. I cleaned out the closet, added a shelf for the shoes and voila! Then I brought in a bookshelf that would let me consolidate the majority of her books, flash cards, games, etc. in to one location. I also used a tray that one of her baby outfits came in to hold her DVDs and piggy bank. Other than that I just straightened everything up and this is what we have...

I know it's not perfect (not even close) but at least I can walk in there now!

Now...remember earlier when I asked you not to go anywhere because I needed your help? Well, here's my problem ~ the dreaded catch counter!

What can I do with this counter? It's in my family room and I hate it!! We can't knock it. 'Why?' you ask. See that first cabinet, it holds the backside of my dishwasher. And see that fourth cabinet, it holds my hot water heater. So the counter is pretty much here to stay. I want to decorate it so that we'll stop using it as a storage space, making the room look oh-so-cluttered and yucky. But nothing seems to look right.
Any ideas?
Thanks ever so much for your help!

Friday, February 20, 2009

10 Minute Room Makeover...A Day Late!

Some of you may have visited the blog A Nesting Place, where 'Nester' has been doing a series entitled '10 Minutes to a Room You'll Love'. As the finale to that series she invited other bloggers to post links to 10 Minute Room makeovers of their own.

Well, I'm a day late but after looking at all the other links yesterday I got a bug in my britches and came home to 'makeover' our master bathroom. Hubby was delighted that it was getting organized and a little terrified at the mess I made in the process, especially since the cleaning lady JUST came and won't be back for a couple weeks!

Here are the before shots...

Yes, it is pretty much always this cluttered, I can't help it. My name is Tamara, I am a clutter freak.

Notice the aspirator (aka the nose sucker), Cagen has been sick so that thing has been my best friend and his worst enemy. Sorry, back to the makeover...

The counter was full of things that I'm no longer using but haven't gotten around to cleaning up and the cabinets (underneath and the medicine cabinet) haven't been gone through in about a year or two. I pulled out the trash cans and went to work. I threw out anything that was past the expiration date (we officially have one bottle of grown up tylenol left, everything else went out), lotions that no longer smelled purty, general trash and makeup that I wouldn't wear these days if you paid me to!

Then I organized it all. Medicines all in the box (the one bottle of tylenol) so that it's one step farther away from the kids (should the child locks on the doors not deter them), hair supplies in an basket, lotions all lined up, kids medicines grouped together for easy access.

And finally I went to work on the counter top. Taking some advice from the Nester I got rid of all the clutter and tried my best for the spa feel. And let's be honest, I think for a spur of the moment $0 cost makeover done with Charleigh's help it turned out pretty good.

The plate is one that my brother and s-i-l gave us for Christmas two years ago. I just rolled up some cream hand towels and threw some rocks on there. I have to ask for a moment of silence now for our dear fish 'Cody' who went to fishy heaven yesterday, thereby allowing me to use the rocks out of his bowl. Rest in Peace Cody, you were a good fish.

Sorry again, back to the makeover...
After the plate, towels and rocks I added our bedside lamp (which I can't turn on at the moment because I dropped and busted the bulb and we're out of them) and a tall candle on the other side of the counter. Finally, I added a glass bowl with some more rocks and a candle on the back of the toilet and called it a day.

We're getting ready to redo the paint throughout the house so shortly the walls will cease to be rose colored and will become a buck skin-esque color (I think). I also plan on putting some 'something' on the walls I just haven't figured out what yet.

I still wouldn't call it a room I love, but it's definitely one I like a lot better than yesterday. Thanks for the inspiration Nester!

And just because I can't help it...Here's a new pic of the babies and me (WARNING: this picture contains no makeup, not suitable for small children!).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Name is Tamara, and I'm Cheap

OK, maybe that didn't sound right, hmmm... Let me explain...

Aren't these roses just beautiful? Wouldn't ya'll be impressed if I told you my loving husband came home on Valentine's Day with not one, but two bouquets of roses for me?

Well, those of you who know me know that's not likely to be the case. You see, my dear husband knows that if he ever came home with roses on Valentine's Day I would probably strangle him!!

Why? Because you can pay an obscene amount of money for roses on Valentine's Day or you can wait until two days later and get them for $3 at Wal-Mart!! And yes folks, I am I mean thrifty!

So, instaed of roses my hubby and two of our friends made arrangements to take the ladies out to dinner at Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa. If you haven't heard of it before and you're ever in the Tampa area, it's a must visit...especially the dessert room! The boys done good!

On a completely separate and random note...Charleigh wanted her toenails painted to match mommy's...

Aren't they cute?!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Simply the Best

Happy Valentine's Day!

Not only is today Valentine's Day, but it's also Charleigh & Cagen's NahNah's (my mom) birthday! She's 35 this year I think.

She's the best mom, the best NahNah and the best friend a girl could ask for. She's simply the best!! Here's a little message just for you NahNah...


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Please Pray for Maddie

This was sent to me and I wanted to forward it to anyone who may happen to read this. We know first hand the power of prayer!

Little, one year old tomorrow, Maddie Goode fell in a pond outside her home this afternoon. Her daddy found her and administered CPR. She was taken to Seven Rivers Hospital and is now being flown to All Children's Hospital in Tampa.

She is fighting really hard but there is still concern about brain damage and infection from the dirty pond water! She and her family need all of our thoughts and prayers on a day like today!


Memories Old and New at Grandma's House

I said I would be back with pictures from Grandma's house and here they are. While we were all there, we shared a lot of memories and made more new ones. For my kids, this was the first (and sadly, only) time they went to Grandma's house but boy did they love it! It was also the first time they met my cousin Boo's kids who they had so much fun playing with.

There is so much fun stuff to do there. There's the pond to cruise around in the boat. Or in Charleigh's case, fall in to! Don't worry, Uncle C. was there to pull her out quick enough.

There's the super long driveway to ride bikes up and down. Although, J. was quick to point out that the young generation has it too easy. Grandma had the driveway paved a few years back. When we were kids it was dirt and pine straw when it was dry and pure mud and muck when it rained!

The butler call to push! Let me tell you about the butler call. It's a small button on the floor of the dining room that was used in the old days (and by old I mean way before my time!) to call for the butler (hence the name). All of the kids have enjoyed pushing that button for as long as I can remember. And for as long as I can remember, it has driven the adults CRAZY! It makes the loudest, shrillest bell ring you can imagine. Well, I can officially say that C., J., Boo and myself have entered adulthood because we were right there with our parents getting on to the kids for pushing it! Someone finally got smart and put this little basket over it so the kids couldn't say they "accidentally" pushed it anymore.

We also used this weekend to go through and send much of the belongings in the house to new homes in the family. Grandma lives with Momma and Daddy now and there just isn't enough room for everything at their house. There were so many beautiful things from Grandma & Grandpa's travels around the world, and we all love and appreciate those things, but it was a whole other class of items that we had the most fun with. Here are a few of our favorite finds!

C. found his GI Joe fighter jet

His wife (also a C.) found these beautiful? flower hooks

J. found a neck brace ~ those of you that know us in real life know that more than likely this was really his at some point. That is the MOST accident prone boy you'll ever meet!

And me, I hit the jackpot!! I found an entire moving box of my old New Kids on the Block stuff! Ya'll I fell in love all over again, that Donnie Walhberg sure was something! Sigh...The picture is of my New Kids wall clock.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend of memories old and new with family.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Packing Up a House and Saying Goodbye to a Home

This past weekend saw the majority of our family (mom's side) venturing to good ole Flemington to help pack up Grandma's house that's been sold.

We came together to pack up a house and say goodbye to a home.

I can't speak for the rest of the grandkids, but I know that for myself going to Grandma & Grandpa's was always like going home. This house has been the constant 'place' of my child- and young adulthood. I have more memories there than I can begin to count, some amazingly wonderful and a couple not so great.

This is the house that my brother had two of his major accidents at. It's where my fear of anything open and high comes from. And why I have a heart attack everytime Charleigh goes to the playground. Thanks a lot J.!

But it's also the home that I remember always having cookies in the tins on top of the refrigerator. Where we had Halloween parties for all the kids of the church that beat all other Halloween parties (Grandma was an awesome witch with Spanish moss for hair!). Where we had Easter egg hunts and would continue to find the rotten eggs in the back field for a while after. It's where the grandkids rode the golf cart with George the Bassett Hound chasing behind. Where I learned to shoot a gun and respect it's power. Where we all came together for Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we played countless games of things like UNO and Spoons (and watch out, things could get violent when Spoons were being played!).

I could go on all day about the memories there, but mainly it's a home where we always knew we were loved and welcomed.

I'm really going to miss that old house but I'm so glad I'll always have the memories!

I'll post more on the packing up later, including some pictures of the house itself, the family and our greatest finds!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Wanna Keep 'Em Little Forever!

Alright ya' baby boy is growing up ENTIRELY too fast!
When Cagen came home from the hospital (the first time) my momma took a picture of him with one of Sissy's baby dolls. We all were amazed and laughed at the fact that the baby doll and my baby boy were almost the same size.

In fact, he was so teniney (if you're from the south, that's a word) that the first few times I took him out in public I had several people comment that they thought I was carrying a baby doll, not a real child.

Fast forward to December. When we put him next to the baby doll again it was obvious that my baby had started to grow.

And now, now the boy is just HUGE!!

I want to scream STOP IT, RIGHT NOW!! But as I learned with my first little sass-a-frass you just can't keep 'em little forever!

Wasn't she the cutest little blue-eyed, bald-headed booger you've ever seen!?!

Note: Please, I beg of you, don't look at the carpet in that picture. It has gone to its rightful place in hideous carpet heaven now. (And yes, that monstrous thing in the bottom left corner is our dog's paw. And he's gotten bigger since then!)

Monday, February 2, 2009

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