Christmas 2008

Most Practical Gift: a book titled How to Live with a Neurotic Dog and Lowe's gift cards

Funniest Gift: a can of cream of potato soup (there is a story behind this but I will save it for another time, if I choose to tell)

Most Redneck Gift: 100% Redneck t-shirts and "Alabama Redneck Survival Kit" complete with sunflower seeds and WD-40 for Ben and TH of course. Unfortunately, I had all of my hubcaps this year and didn't receive any this Christmas. However, we did replace a headlight on Christmas Eve at LaDaryl and Sandra's house (I have been asked to always refer to my uncle on the blog as "LaDaryl." He is a redneck and I must do what he says. Do I get redneck points?).

Most Sentimental Gift: let me give you background info first--My uncle passed away in '94. Before he was married, he dated a girl (Jan Montgomery for those of you in the Ham) for a long time and gave her a really pretty opal necklace while they were together. Mrs. Montgomery gave Leslie the necklace with a really sweet note this Christmas. 

Most Broken Gift: I will not say who this is about because I don't want this person to feel any worse than he/she already does. A very fragile present was given to someone. Less than 10 minutes after the present was open, it fell on the floor and shattered to pieces. No worries, the gift has already been reordered and will be delivered shortly.

Most Special Gift: I got a replica of the Sanibel Island lighthouse, a place that Brent and I visited many times while he was living in Fort Myers. I've been wanting this lighthouse for a while and never took the time to order it. I was told the man that made them passed away and the lighthouses were being retired. The Sanibel Island lighthouse was one of the first to retire so I just forgot about it. Brent and my mom found one and my parents gave it to me.

Most Disappointing Gift 1: I opened a gift of Ben's senior pictures and loved them. Turns out those pictures were intended for Quinton and I had to put them back in the bag with the tissue paper and he had to pretend he had no clue what was in them. It's ok though because I opened some later.

Most Disappointing Gift 2: Cleveland (cousin) got a guitar Christmas morning and we gave him a tuner and picks. However, we exchanged gifts with that side of the family Christmas Eve so I wrapped a notecard that said "Gift to come Christmas Morning."

Funniest Wrapping Paper: Dad couldn't find the wrapping paper to wrap mom's gift (even though it was sitting on the floor in the den) so he wrapped it with newspaper. He didn't realize until after he was done wrapping that he used the obituary section of the newspaper.

Best Bargain day after Christmas: lighted wreaths for $15 at Home Accents in Pelham.

Laughed so hard that my stomach hurt: playing Mad Gab with Brent, Mom, Dad, Ben and Savannah (Ben's friend)

Most Redneck moment: Riding with Ben and TH in his OLD Bronco to get Pop a toothbrush and razors at the Exxon

Best Quote of Christmas: "WD-40 is like Red Bull for rednecks" made famous by TH.

Here are some pictures. Unfortunately, I don't have any from Christmas with my mom's side of the family or the VK's. These are with my dad's side of the family. The one of the dog is Sparky, my parents dog. He is at least 13 years old. We aren't sure how old, he was a stray when we got him in 5th grade. He is wearing Brent's ear muffs he got for Christmas. 


If I Only Had a Blog

Naked Neighbor

Ok, this sounds like a "Friends" episode...but I promise you, I am referring to one of my former neighbors at my parents house. And, yes, I mean naked in the whole sense of the word. Not only was he a naked neighbor, he was a strange neighbor. He was a hairy naked Neanderthal. I'm almost positive he was single, although sometimes we did see a red Mustang outside of his house. It wasn't his car because he didn't own one. He walked everywhere. Of course, in Cahaba Heights that's easy to do. Speaking of walking, one day Leslie and mom were taking a morning walk around 6 am. NN (that's what I'll call him for short) was in his house screaming with the front door wide open. Leslie and Mom made sure to take a different route home.

Let me paint the picture for you. NN has an old small house. His front door and back door are connected with one straight hallway that has the rooms on either side. His kitchen sink faces the back of the house. And it just so happens that his house is at the top of a hill, facing you as you drive up this hill. The hill is a pretty popular route for our neighborhood and a vet office. Point is, he's hard to miss. Especially when the front and back doors are open and he is washing dishes at his kitchen sink with absolutely no clothes on, which he did on numerous occasions. It gets worse. He has been spotted, by me (everything I am talking about here, I have seen with my own eyes and I don't lie), sitting in his boxers in his front yard in a "canoe" rowing somewhere. He would occasionally pull out his "binoculars" I guess to find land and would continue rowing. You may be wondering, how did you see him do all of these things in the short time that you passed his house? First of all, I always drove slow so I didn't miss anything. Second, I always made sure to have a reason to drive back by his house a few minutes/hours later to see what he was up to. This particular time, he was rowing on the way up the hill and he was using his binoculars from the canoe on the way down the hill.

One night on our way home from church, we were frightened by a huge Spongebob pillow hanging from a tree. Imagine driving down a dark road with lots of trees and all of the sudden seeing a huge yellow thing with bug eyes and a huge smile staring at you. It freaked me out and for a while I would not drive on that road at night. That was until I saw Spongebob hanging on NN's porch one day.

NN was known for hanging things on his porch. He kept a skeleton up from Halloween about 6 months after the holiday. Some of our sane neighbors had to explain to their children that NN was "Mixed-Up Calendar Man" and got confused with holidays. Not only did he hang things on his porch, he liked to duct tape things in trees. For at least a year, he had gnomes randomly duct taped to the trees in his yard.

One night my dad was on his way home around 2 am (not sure why) and he saw NN unclothed with the doors open. My dad drove to the police station at the bottom of the hill to inform them. The police just laughed at him and said they weren't going near his house.

NN was a special man and a neighbor to never be forgotten. Unfortunately, he has moved and the property is for sale. But I must say, I'm glad he's gone and I hope he clothes himself in his new house.

**PS, I will have a Christmas post as soon as I get pictures from Dad.


ACA Official Members

That's right...Brent and I are now official members of the American Cornhole Association and we are getting a membership card to prove it. If you have no clue what I am talking about, go here to learn about the popular tailgating game that is sweeping the nation. If you've never played Cornhole, you've really missed out. Call us, we have a board and we would love to introduce you to the game. One of the benefits of becoming a member, other than costing nothing to join, is we get to host official Cornhole tournaments. Be practicing Twentysomething's, there may be a tournament coming your way! Also, here is a song dedicated to the game. Thanks Rod and Luke for the web suggestions! 


Christmas Favorites Part 2

Go here to hear "Oh Holy Night" like you've never heard it before. My dad found the mp3 of this song a few years ago and it is tradition to crank it up in his home office and listen to it...and laugh of course because you can't help it. I don't have the mp3 on my computer but I found this video on youtube. I don't know if the guy in the video is the one who actually sang the song. It's still hilarious. Listen to the whole thing, it gets really good at the end. Enjoy!


Christmas Favorites

***I usually don't post twice in one day, but I have 2 very good things to write about so please don't miss this post or the one below. 

If you have never heard of Dean and Company, you are really missing out on a Christmas treasure. The Dean Family (a somewhat slightly semi-talented family from Birmingham or somewhere near the city) puts out a video each year for Christmas. They will leave you thinking to yourself, "Why?" Why do they record this and make it available for public viewing? It's awful. It's horrible. It's the worst video production I have EVER seen. Creepy puppets are used for whatever reason. Who knows? This family thinks they have something special, a talent they all share of singing and acting. This is so far from the truth. I don't feel bad for saying these things, they have to know it. And if they ever listen to Rick and Bubba (which they do, they will be on their show on Wednesday) they have heard these comments and worse. It's as if they record random songs, scenes and whatnots throughout the year and compile them all into a "Christmas Special" and publish the video without editing or even reviewing the material. It's like publishing the rough draft of the first essay you ever wrote in the NY Times. I have actually sent the video link into the Ellen Degeneres Show. I'm sure it is something she and her viewers would love to see. Please go here and watch the 2008 Christmas Special. My favorite Christmas Special was from 2006 or 2007, don't remember. But you can see that youtube video here. Hope you enjoy!

Sanibel's First and Last Slumber Party

Brent and I went to Nashville for the weekend and had to leave Sanibel at the vet. I love the vet we use. They are helpful and nice and have always taken good care of Sanibel when we take her in for check-ups/surgery. And, the vets are Auburn grads so I know they are good! This was Sanibel's first time to stay at the vet overnight. Usually when we go out of town, our parents keep her. But we had to board her this time since we were not driving South towards the Ham. I hope we never have to do this again! She put up a fight when Brent tried to drop her off on Friday. He said I would have cried if I had taken her. He's probably right. But Sanibel has always been able to quickly recover from negative circumstances and she has a very short memory. For example, she ran right into a wall one night in the hallway when it was dark. Instead of moping around like it hurt, she shook it off and got right back to whatever toy she was after. We assumed she forgot about us leaving her and had fun playing with her new dog friends. Wishful thinking. Brent was going to pick her up today during his lunch break. However, he got a call around 10:30 from the vet asking for permission to SEDATE her before giving her a BATH! How embarrassing! Apparently she would bite or scratch anyone who attempted to get her out of her crate. Brent declined and left immediately to go pick her up. When he got there, the vet assisstants would not get her out themselves. They took Brent through the "employee only" area so that he could get her. When they got home, Sanibel already had a bowl full of food. Brent went to the bathroom and when he got back ALL the food was gone and she was gulping down the water. I guess she didn't eat or drink anything during her stay. I know she was fed and given water, this is not the vet's fault. Sanibel is just an absolute brat and refused to eat or drink. She wouldn't even take treats from the vet! Brent felt like he had just picked up his rebellious child from daycare that was too defiant to stay at school. I feel like I need to write a letter of appology to the vet asking forgiveness for her behavior. I couldn't believe it! Hopefully we will never have to board her again. I will do anything before I leave her at the vet overnight. I hope our children reflect better parenting skills than Sanibel. 


If I Only Had a Blog

Saturday Night Burgers

Growing up, I was so blessed to have my grandparents living so close to me. My mom's parents (Mom and Pop) lived across the street until I was in college. If I didn't like what my mom was cooking for dinner, I would run across the street and eat whatever Mom made. One day it was raining and I was running over to their house, only to slip and fall in the car port right on my backside. My mom has always told me that's how I got a crack in my behind. 

My dad's parents live down the street, about 4 minutes away. Every, and I mean every, Saturday night we went to Granny Rosie and Pop Pop's house to eat hamburgers. Even in middle and high school when it wasn't "cool" to hang out with your family on weekends, I rarely missed Saturday Night Burgers. If I wanted to be with my friends, I just invited them to dinner. It was a tradition that Granny Rosie's mom started. After dinner, the grandkids would go into the piano/sunroom and dance while my dad played the piano. Typically, someone would record us on the video camera. This past Saturday night, we were in Birmingham (for like the 10th weekend in a row, it's crazy) and we watched some of the videos. We frequently watch home videos because they are HILARIOUS! We just sit around, make fun of each other and laugh at how stupid we were and dumb we looked. In most of them, Ben is either in a diaper or stretched out Barney underwear (from frequent wedgies thanks to Quinton) They are some wonderful memories that I cherish so much. Now that we are older, we don't necessarily dance around and make fools of ourselves. I'm not saying that we never do...just not as often :) But Dad still plays the piano after dinner. I love to hear him play the piano. I really wish he would record his music (hint hint, Dad). I've mentioned this to him before, but he hasn't done it yet. My family records everything on video. We still record us opening presents every Christmas. Do we ever watch it? No, but at least the memories are there. Saturday Night Burgers will be a tradition that I hope to pass on to many generations. What are some of your family traditions? 


Death by Gift Certificate

Gift cards are a wonderful thing. However, I got an email today about a rather unusual gift certificate that I would NEVER want to give or recieve. Planned Parenthood of Indiana is offering gift certificates that can be cashed in at abortion clinics. Here is the article on Dr. Albert Mohler's blog. We have totally lost sight of what Christmas is all about. The BIRTH of our Savior. And now we are offering mothers a chance to murder their babies as a Christmas gift. 


From one random job to another...

Sometime this summer, I can't remember when exactly, I was sitting with Brent at work eating lunch. I got extremely irritated because while we were trying to eat, he kept being called to do something, check on something, go fix something, call someone, etc. I thought to myself, it's not right that my husband can't sit down for 20 minutes and enjoy lunch without someone bugging him with something. This type of thing happened on many occasions. And I remember thinking that day that I didn't want him working there anymore (there were many other things that bothered me about his job, not just the lunch thing). But that day at lunch was like the straw that broke the camel's back. I didn't say anything to Brent. He already knew what I was thinking. But it really bothered me and I decided I wanted him to find another job. I still didn't say anything. That evening when Brent came home from work, he told me he was ready for something new and he immediately started looking for a job. I don't think that was just a coincidence, I think it was the providence of God. Brent had looked for another job back in the spring and almost got one with Bill Heard Chevrolet...I'm VERY thankful that didn't happen! Brent bought the book 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller and foreward by Dave Ramsey. And so Brent started to seriously search for a job and we both began to seriously pray for God's plan to be revealed. To make a long story short (which I probably need to do with a lot of my blog posts) he accepted a job with Cornerstone Detention Products on Monday, December 1st. The company had been thinking about hiring another outside salesman but hadn't officially made a decision or advertised at all. Brent found them on the Athens Chamber of Commerce website, thought it sounded like a unique company, and decided to send them a resume. He didn't expect to hear back from them, but he did and now he will be working for them! He is extremely ecstatic about the new job! I am very proud of him and excited for him! Brent is such a hard worker and he deserves to work at a place where he will be appreciated and valued. I think he will feel that way at Cornerstone. So...all praises to my King and for His perfect plan and timing! 

What does Cornerstone do you ask??? It is a family-run local busines that does work all over the nation. They sell prison equipment (uniforms, guard towers, stainless steel toilets and sinks, beds, security glass, you name it they sell it). There is also a construction side that does a lot of work with architects who design prisons and other detention facilities. 

So now, when people ask me what Brent does, instead of explaining that he works for a wholesale plumbing supplier that also sells lighting and appliances (a toilet salesman) I will now have to explain that he works for a detention equipment supplier (a prison salesman). 


Thanksgiving Holidays and Black Friday

Thanksgiving day started by watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I was in the parade twice during high school. It is very sentimental to me and I never miss it. Then, I went on to making a dozen deviled eggs 1 of 2 (I made it again on Saturday for Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family). I am always asked to make deviled eggs. I think it's because no one else wants to do it, but it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without them, so they make me do it. I don't mind at all. They are easy and everyone loves them. However, I am capable of making more than just deviled eggs...hint hint. My mom made the turkey and dressing this year. It was her first year to take on this responsibility, therefore, it was mine too. After the eggs, I helped her rub an herb paste under the skin of the turkey breasts. It was absolutely disgusting but it tasted really good after it cooked! Then, I was greeted with a phone call from Quinton (cousin) wondering why he couldn't look at the newspaper ads yet. He and Leslie were already at Granny Rosie's and he wanted to go ahead and look at the ads. Leslie wouldn't let him...remember our cardinal rule...and he didn't understand so he called me to get clarification/permission. I gave him permission to look under two conditions 1) he could not tell us about any deal or discount and 2) he had to put the ads back exactly like he found them. Thankfully, he did just that and we didn't have to disown him. We had a yummy meal complete with lots of laughter and chaos. The three are never separated at the Wright's dinner table.  Afterwards, we watched a lot of youtube videos. My favorite was "The Turtleman." You need to watch it.  Don't miss his reason for losing his front teeth...HILARIOUS! Finally, we sat down to create a game plan for our Black Friday shopping extravaganza.  JCPenney opened at 4...so of course we had to be there at 4. 

The day began at 2:30 am when the alarm went off. I had slept for a little less than 4 hours, yet I had no trouble getting up, showering, and putting on my hot pink matching pajamas. Here are some of the things we witnessed/experienced throughout the day:
1.  When we arrived at 4 am, there was a mother putting her infant in a stroller! Crazy!
2.  As we were walking in the store, there were people leaving with shopping bags full of pillows. Pillows were a doorbuster for $3.88. Not worth it at 4 am. 
3.  Around 6 am we made our first trip out to the car. The parking lot was full so everyone was looking for a place to park. We had a lot of small kitchen appliances and a mirror we were putting in Leslie's car, so it took us a while to get everything situated. There was a car waiting on us the entire time, thinking that we would eventually get in the car and leave. They obviously didn't know us at all. After we shut the car doors, the lady in the waiting car asked us if we were leaving and we kindly said "no." And she replied with an extremely rude, "Thanks for making us wait!" I'm sorry, but I don't think I made you sit there and wait on us. 
4.  I was on the lookout for some shoes so we visited ALDO. You need to know that I am a picky shopper. I think through a lot before I make a decision. I probably tried on 4-5 pairs of shoes. However, the saleslady that was helping me was inconvenienced by my presence. She reminded me of Bon Qui Qui. She questioned me a lot about the shoes I picked out, kept asking me "Are you sure?" Like she really wanted to say, "Seriously? You want me to bring you another pair of shoes?" ALDO has European sizes. I needed a 37. Many times she would bring me a 38 because there was no 37. After trying on 2 38's, I decided that they were too big and I just needed to stick with a shoe that had a 37 in stock. So, I asked for another pair of shoes in a 37 and she brought me a 39. If the 38's are too big, obvisouly the 39's will be even bigger. She got irritated with me that I didn't even try them on to see if they fit. She finally gave up on me and tried to avoid me. But I still didn't have any shoes and needed her to help me. So, I confronted her and told her I needed another shoe. She sighed, grabbed the shoe and walked off to the back. I left with 2 pairs of shoes size 37 that I really liked and she stayed in a bad mood. 
5.  Lunch was around 9 am. We ate at McAlister's in the food court. The Galleria never has enough tables, even on a regular day. Leslie went on the lookout for a table. She found a group of people that were getting up and she hovered over them until they did so she could slip in and claim the table. As the group got up, another girl ran over, sat down and turned her head as if she never saw Leslie. Very rude. Leslie remained calm and walked away. We found a Hispanic family (a dad plus his 4 children under the age of 7) finishing up their meal. He let us have his table. In the transition, someone stole one of the chairs leaving us only 2. The man left his 4 children with us and he walked around the food court until he found a third chair. He was a very kind man. I'm just thankful he left his children with trustworthy people. 
6.  We got plenty comments on our matching pj's. The teenagers all looked at us like we were dumb. One group of girls really wanted to laugh but was trying really hard not to until she passed us. I very loudly said, "Yeah, we match. It's ok to laugh." I made sure I made eye contact with everyone that stared to confirm that what they were seeing was true. Three grown women in matching pajamas. We weren't afraid. All the men said things like, "Look, triplets!" All the women said, "Aren't y'all so cute!" My favorite comment was an old man that reminded me of Pop Pop. We made him laugh so hard. He loved it! The funniest comment we heard was while mom was a little farther behind Leslie and me. We passed this lady and a few feet later, my mom passed her and heard her say, "I wonder if she knows those other girls are wearing the same thing she is?" We never made it on the news, but I can guarantee you that there will be people wearing matching pj's next year. We have a different idea in mind for Black Friday 2009. 
7.  We finally left at 7 pm. We didn't break our record but we did meet it. 

Saturday--A Typical Redneck Thanksgiving with the Milstead's
Mom woke me up at 9:45 and said we were leaving at 10:30 to go to Gary Springs. Yeah right. I hadn't made my deviled eggs yet. We left around 11:15 and got there around noon. Two four wheelers, a bow and arrow, small bonfire, camoflauge china, and an attempt to set up the TV outside so we could watch the game by the fire. At one point TH was running around the house with nothing but his boxers and cowboy boots on because he "was hot." After the meal, Rena May (my grandmother's sister) wanted to go "uptown" to Kelly's. Rena May (she prefers Rena, but I prefer Rena May) said it was a gift shop. Mom (my grandmother and don't ask me why I call her "mom" because I don't know) said it was just a consignment shop and I wouldn't be interested. However, I was looking forward to a trip with Rena May because she is SO giggly. And when you get my mom, grandmother mom, Rena May and me together it's never ending laughter usually about nothing at all. Unfortunately, Kelly's was closed. Rena May was so dissappointed that she stopped in the middle of the road to discuss plan B. We decided to go to the new Wal Mart!!! Woo Hoo. I haven't been in a Wal Mart since last week! On our way, we made a small detour to Wrap It Up (a really cute gift shop/boutique), Dollar General, and Factory Connection. Grandmother Mom bought all kinds of Christmas stuff at Dollar General. It was unbelievable, I've never spent so much time in a DG. We finally made it to the Wal Mart. Rena May wanted grandmother Mom to get Celine Dion's Christmas "tape". Rena May talked about it at lunch, talked about it on the way to all the stores, we even listened to it in the car during our little shopping trip and heard that she is coming to Birmingham in February. I laughed so hard. Oh, I love my family! Don't thinking I am making fun of anyone...poking fun is totally understandable and actually expected in my family. It wouldn't be us without always making fun of someone/something. What can I say, we love to laugh! We came back and watched the Iron Bowl until the 3rd quarter and then drove back to Huntsville in the Camry with one headlight. Wonderful trip. 

Went church and then went to the Christmas Tree Farm to cut down our Christmas tree. We went to the same place last year and everyone brought their dogs. We felt bad because we didn't bring Sanibel so we made sure to bring her this year.  I have two words that sum up our experience. Never again. We got home, decorated the house and the tree while listening to Elvis's Christmas CD. I never decorate for Christmas without listening to him. When I was growing up, dad always made us listen to Elvis, Bing Crosby or Leon Redbone while we decorated the tree. Mom wasn't very fond of it, but it was tradition and I don't mess with tradition. 


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