Sugar, Hun and Sweethearts...

Visiting Hot Springs, Arkansas is like taking a step back in time. When we travel there, we usually stay at an old historic hotel called, The Arlington. This hotel holds bragging rights to having hosted Al Capone and his gang, regularly. It is also know for its mineral baths and massages. At night, one can find a Big Band playing lazy tunes, such as "Moon River" and people doing some pretty exquisite ballroom dancing at times. Nestled among the Ozark Mountains, this historic landmark sits right in the middle of the town. Perfect for sitting out on the huge wrap around porch and "people watching" or taking a walk to any of the many restaurants or boutiques along the streets. Across from The Arlington is an old timey sort of diner called, "The Pancake House". When you enter this diner, it is as though you have stepped into a scene from "Steel Magnolias". The host (or perhaps he owns this place), looks a bit like a televangelist with his pineapple shirt, boufant hairdo and reading glasses perched upon his nose. Upon entering, he inquires, "How ya'll doin' this mornin'?", in a drawn out drawl one can only acquire from living in the south a lifetime. The Pancake House is always packed and it is no different this particular Saturday morning. Glancing around he asks if we would like to wait or sit at the counter. Well, if you are going to have a true "diner experience", you might as well go ahead and sit at the counter. This is actually not a bad seat for me (being only 5'1")...however, Robby's knees are up to his chin. We get situated and over walks our waitress. Dressed in a kelly green tunic and white polyester pants, she says, "Hey, with ya'll in just a minute." Now, I'm not one who really likes to be called endearments such as, Sweetie, Hun and Darlin', but it just seems normal for me to accept this woman calling me "Sweethearts" in this environment. As I observe her waltzing around the diner filling coffee cups and wiping countertops, I reach over and tap Robby and say, "I bet her name is Flo...or maybe even Alice! It has to be." As she scoots back over to take our order, I glance at her name tag ( I guess at the same time Robby does, as well). We look at each other...Yasmin?! For a moment, I consider telling her she should change it; if only on her name tag. Anyway, we go on to order French toast and grits. They bring out syrup and butter...not little pre-packaged little pats of butter, but homemade, light and whipped butter! One taste of the grits and they are PERFECT! Now, how many times does that happen in a restaurant? No added salt or butter even needed (Oh, yes! We MUST be in the south). THEN...Robby gives me a bite of his French toast. All I can say is, YUMMY! I do believe they must deep fry this French toast, because I have never tasted any that was quite as crispy. Unending cups of coffee and a constant flow of people and conversation continue even as we prepare to leave. Although at times I've been know to call this little town the "Redneck Riviera"...because there is, how should I put it? A very "diverse" crowd that appears to flock to Hot Springs, is also very quaint. If you visit, you MUST stay at The Arlington, dance to "Moon River", tour the town in a horse drawn carriage and ABSOLUTELY eat breakfast at "The Pancake House"...Sweethearts!

Let the Chaos Begin!

Well, it is now 2 weeks until David and Codi's "Big Day" and the chaos has officially begun. The whole family is home and quite frankly, 2 weeks is a pretty long time for us all to be together before such an important pending event. Just me share just a little with you. Robby and I were in Dallas at Market and then heading on to Hot Springs, Arkansa for Sarah's baby shower. While we were gone, I knew that David was planning on packing his belongings and coming home from Kentucky. He has just completed his second year of medical school and is preparing to take his first set of Board Exams AND get married 8 days later. So, he and Codi will be moving to Hattisburg, Mississippi for at least the next 10 months for part of his rotations. You have to know how David shakes and moves. There are really only 2 words I can use to describe it..FAST and FRANTIC! He runs at top speed (often literally...I actually think he's trying to get a speeding ticket in every state ). Ryan says that when David moves from place to place, he just takes boxes, rakes the stuff off the counters into them and then throws them into his vehicle. Anyway, this is how is all started:

DAVID to RYAN: I want you to take the trailer with my stuff in it to Winnfield (ACE
Warehouse) and "paletize" it for me. (TRANSLATION...He wanted Ryan to
remove his boxes from the trailer, organize them, put them on a palet and
shrink wrap them for his next move).

RYAN to ME: I think I'm just going to open the back door on the trailer and go down the road
as fast as I can and hope everything blows out on the way there.

WHAT HAPPENED: Robby and I were doing a little shopping before heading out to Hot Springs.
All of a sudden my phone began to is Ryan. He said he had been
organizing David's stuff all day and is finally on his way home (actually
only miles from the house) and David called him. He had been studying all
day at Robby's office, was hungry and wanted Ryan to come to town to
bring him something to eat because he couldn't get Caitlin's car started
(yea...don't even know why he was driving HER car and not his...). Ryan
is explaining how this should have been the BEST day David has had
because he had someone else unpacking and organizing for him and NOW
he wants him to bring him food. As I'm hearing these complaints, I realize
that someone is trying to beep in on the other line of my phone. I quickly
pull it away from my ear to find that it is David (most likely calling to tell
me that he couldn't get the car started and Ryan wouldn't bring him any-
thing to eat). I continue talking to Ryan and tell him not to worry about
it and just go home. I'm about to clidk over to hear David's rendition, when
I notice across the room that Robby is answering his phone (in this family,
if you can't somebody to answer right away, you just keep dialing everyone
else's number as fast as you can until you get someone). Indeed, it was
David calling. In the meantime, I receive a text message from" The Text
Message Queen",Caitlin. She's not even in town, but David has called her
and is mad because he cannot get her car started (AGAIN...I don't know
why he drove HER car...). Across the room, I hear Robby say, " Jerk the
steering wheel hard; it hangs up...AND why are you even driving HER
car?" Justin of course, has been brought into this drama for no other
reason than I'm sure that he was on the "speed call if no one else answers
right away list...and I need to enlist someone to be one my side". His
solution to the problem at hand is for David to just travel by foot to the
Pop-Eye's up the road and get himself some lunch ('s only 105
degrees in the shade and not only would he have to walk at least a mile,
but it would be a mile through a very seedy neighborhood)! Finally, Robby
and I both get off of our phones, collapse into two chairs in the men's shoe
department, look intensely at each other...and start laughing! I say, 2
weeks is waayyy too long for all of us to be in this close proximity before
the wedding. A lot can happen in 2 weeks...and most of it is NOT good.
Oh well, "Let the Chaos Begin"! After all, that's what makes like more
interesting...(isn't it???)

Chickens and Baby Monitors...

Along with Mr. Oink, we also had many other animals. One memorable group of animals that we had, were the chickens. One day, Robby came home from work, built a pen in the back yard and told me he was buying some chickens. OK...I really didn't see a problem with that since my grandparents actually had a farm when I was growing up and had pigs and chickens and even a milk cow. How bad could it be to have some chickens? When Robby brought the chickens home, there were actually 12 of them. What I didn't know was that each of those 12 chickens would lay 1 egg a day...a dozen eggs a day! What in the world were we going to do with a dozen eggs a day? Was I going to be expected to set up a stand on the side of the road and sell eggs? My mother was worried that we all would develop high cholesterol. Hmmm...well, have eggs we did and plenty of them. My sister (who was the queen of purchasing annoying presents for my children) even bought my children some of those colored chicks for Easter that year. As most of you know, those little chick don't usually live very long past Easter (most likely due to the fact that baby chicks are not really supposed to be dyed). HOWEVER, ours DID all survive. And for those of you who have always wondered what happens if they DO live...I'll tell you. They ended up being white (after the dye wore off) and they got VERY fat. The fatness was mostly due to the fact that they did absolutely NOTHING but sit in the middle of the pen and eat all day. Yes, I said sit because they got so fat they could barely move. And they really had no purpose because they didn't even lay eggs either. BUT, back to the egg laying chickens. One day, we realized that there was one less chicken in the pen. Robby walked the fence line and found that apparently some wild animal had killed that missing chicken. Worried that more chickens would be lost, he went to a friend's house to borrow his hunting traps. He then lined the fence row with them. This seemed to be some pretty serious business. I found out just how serious it waw when I prepared to get in bed for the night. I heard this faint squawking sound..."Robby", I said..."What is that noise"? To my utter surprise, my dear, sweet husband had taken our baby monitors and strapped one to the headboard of our bed...and the other one to the chicken coop! "Why in the world did you do that?", I asked. He told me that he needed to know when that "wild animal" made his move (I suppose he was going to jump up and run out there...and do what?). Ok...this seemed a little strange to me, but also kind of made sense in a crazy sort of way. So, the traps were set, the monitors were on and we settled in for the night. RING...RING...Who could be calling in the middle of the night? It was my aunt who lived next door. "Robby, (she said in her nasally, whining voice)...I think you've caught a dog in one of those traps of yours and he's whining". Up he gets and lets the dog out of the trap (who, by the way, went straight to our garbage can, turned it over and promptly strowed the trash all over our yard). He came back to bed without any further excitement for the night. The next morning, another chicken was missing! Upon walking the fenceline again, we not only found our dead little chicken, but also the culprit...a skunk! The traps were left out for a few more days just to make sure that the skunk was truly responsible for the situation. This story just goes to prove that there really are more uses for ordinary item around your home (such as baby monitors) than you may think.

Rabbits and Chickens and Pigs, OH MY!

As a child, growing up, I didn't have many animals...well, only 2 dogs, think. One got run over by our car very early on and the other was a gift to me from a family friend. Irving, my little chihuahua. Don't ask about the name, because I have absolutely no idea why a 6 year old child would name their dog Irving. However, Irving lived for a very long time (about 12 years) with our family. I always wanted other animals, but Mother was not too fond of animals, therefore, I considered myself lucky to get to have 1 dog. Of course, when Robby and I started having kids, I was not opposed to having animals...various types...and at times many. We started out with dogs and then graduated on to other animals over the years. We acquired our first kitten when Ryan was in pre-school. I went with his class to a farm, where he carried this little kitten around with him all day long. At the end of the trip, the lady asked if he would like to have the kitten; I said, "yes'. She mentioned that this was the first field trip she had done where a child actually took an animal home with them, but I could wee no problem with it...until we got home and I remembered Muffin. Muffin was our outside dog at the time. A Cur, with a beautiful glass (blue) eye. Being a hunting dog, surprisingly, Muffin was always very gentle. However, Muffin played a little too roughly with the kitten and she ended up spending most of her time on the roof. We even ended up putting her food bowl on the roof. But still, we always loved having our pets around. Our inside dog was a poodle, Ange' and also at one time, we had a guniea pig, hampsters and a hermit crab. But some of my favorites (and more interesting ones) were the ones kept outdoors. At one point, we had a dozen chickens, a totally unridable horse, a rabbit...and my personal favorite, Mr. Oink...our 4H pig. When Justin entered 4th grade, the students were told that 4H was a huge part of their science grade. In other words, it was not "optional", but required that each student choose a project for the year. After browsing through the pamphlet, for some unknown reason, Robby decided that Justin should raise a pig to show in the parish fair. Hmmm...OK. So, everything had to be done according to 4H standards. They built a pen for Mr. Oink (yes, this was his name) and then Robby taught Justin how to feed him and train him with an apple on the end of a stick. As Mr. Oink grew, I think Justin was actually a little afraid of him. He even broke out of his pen one day and we had to call Robby home from work to repair it. He brought the guy who worked for him at the time and they went out to repair the pen, while I sat inside my mother's kitchen waiting. After a while, I saw Robby come walking by, followed by his worker...followed by Mr. Oink! Yep, they didn't really fix that pen very well, or that was one smart pig. Anyway, it was a funny picture; one I wish I had captured on film. Justin continued to take care of Mr. Oink until he became quite fat and was ready for the fair. A special box was made to transport him there and on the day that Justin was to show him, Robby came home with a little surprise. Now mind you, we were not cowboys or anything, but Robby said that there would be some there and Justin needed to "dress the part". He had gone to the western store and bought him a cowboy shirt and hat to wear with his jeans! Now, what kid wouldn't love that? This made a very cute picture, I must say. We were all ready now and headed out for the fair to show Mr. Oink that night. I took the other kids and found us a place on the bleachers, awaiting the grand finale to this year long project. Some of the other children began letting their pigs out of their pens, walking them down the chute and into the main arena. At just about that time, I heard a commotion...Mr. Oink was having none of this showing event. He did NOT want to come out of his pen and walk down the chute! Apparently, Robby forced him out and very unhappy with this scenario, Mr. Oink rebelled. He took off running as fast as he could down the chute, knocking people almost off of their feet. You could hear the screaming before you even saw him enter the main arena...where little Justin was waiting in his cute little cowboy outfit. While the other children were walking their pigs around, tapping them with a rod and showing them to the judges, Mr. Oink hit the scene...and I mean hit it. He began running in circles around the pen (and Justin) with dust flying in his wake and frothing at the mouth. We were aghast! With our eyes buldged and mouths opened, we could not believe what we were seeing. Our fat, old docile, Mr. Oink had a mind of his own and he was having none of this 4H showing event. Eventually, he did calm down a bit, but needless to say did NOT win a ribbon. Mr. Oink is merely one of my favorite "animal adventure stories"...stay tuned for more later.

Knick Knack Paddy Whack, Ryan Throws the Dogs a Bone!

We are currently on the the ofiicial countdown to David and Codi's wedding (July 10th) and Justin and Sarah's new baby (August 26th). So, naturally, much drama will be entering the picture. Last year, we threw the engaged couple a great engagement party, with a live band and approximately 200 guests. I, of course, decided I could do everything (except the catering) myself and things got a bit hectic on the day of the party. At that point, Ryan told me that if the wedding was worse than the party preparation, I could just put a cardboard cut-out of him at the church or he would pay someone to be his stand-in. As I mentioned before, Ryan is very sneaky, but he also likes to tease mercilessly. And by mercilessly, I mean that if you show any resistance to what he is saying, he will NEVER let it go! These two girls (Sarah and Codi) have been told this, however, I suppose it is just human nature to fight against whatever you don't want or like. Ryan is in full swing with both an up-coming wedding and arrival of a baby. At first, when beginning to plan the wedding, Codi toyed with the idea of having it outside...OK, NOT a good idea for the middle of July in Louisiana. I didn't say anything, because I realized that she would most likely change her mind and it was just an idea in the early planning stages. Ryan, however, took this as his cue to put his two cents in. He told her that this would be fine with him, but because of the extreme heat, he would be dressing in the Chipindale fashion! Yes, He would wear his tuxedo pants, with no shirt, but with a bow tie and a shirt cuff on each wrist. Needless to say, Codi had to disagree with him...which could not have made him happier. That gave him fire power to continue to talk about doing this and tease her until she finally made the official announcement that the wedding would be held in a church. Likewise, around the same time, Sarah began thiking of baby names. At that point, we did not know if the baby was a girl or boy, so Justin wanted a boy to be named after him; Robert Justin. Robert is a family name, with Robert being my husband's name...we call him Robby and Robert being my father-in-law's name as well...we call him Bob. Well, Sarah was having none of that. She stated that she did NOT want her child called a "nick name". She wanted him called Robert...hmmm...I could see this one coming. Ryan jumped on this band wagon by asking how "Little Bobby" was every time he saw Sarah. She REALLY took this serious and got beside herself when he started I have to tell you that he thought this was hilarious and her arguements only fueled the fire of his teasing. Robby often times tells me that I am no better than him, because I also began to think it was amusing (Because I DID tell her the more she protested, the more he would continue!). One night when they were visiting and he began his "Little Bobby" remarks, I whispered in his ear..."How about Richard Robert...and we can call him Ricky Bobby"? His eyes lit up as laughter poured forth (Because he is a great fan of Will Ferrell). He made this suggestion and everyone began to laugh as Sarah came over to the couch to pummell him! Ahhh, but alas, we found out the baby would not be a boy, but indeed a girl. Her name would be Parker Elizabeth. His response??? " Pleeeaaassseee DON'T give your girl a unisex name! You will only make her grow up being confused"! Oh no, here we go again. He then stated that he would just called her "Lizzie"...thus, the middle name change to Ann! His current project, however, involves the wedding plans, specifically the groomsmen. He came up one day with this idea that he would enlist all of the groomsmen to grow mustaches that came all the way down to the jaw. I have to admit that this was pretty funny; Robby said, "NO! You are NOT going to do anything to try to make her mad on her wedding day." I had a compromise...How about just doing it for the rehearsal (just to see the reaction) and then shaving them off for the wedding. This again was met with, "Barbara, you are no better than he is!" Oh well, he hasn't mentioned this in a while, but I already have visions of Robby holding the groomsmen (all 8 of them) down and shaving their faces before the wedding...we'll see!

Ahhh...A Cake To Remember

I am a "take a class person". That is not to say that I LOVE going to school, because that is definitely NOT the case (I know...strange for an ex-teacher to say; guess that's why I'm an ex-teacher!). I re-entered college to finish my degree after the birth of my fourth child. Remember, the 80's were basically filled with getting married and giving birth. So, this explains why I'm not really a fan of sitting in a classroom. However, there are certain things that I have wanted to learn to do over the years and I know that the only way to learn to do them correctly is to take a class. Oh, I have taken classes to learn how to smock, knit, paint, cook, play golf, do yoga and probably many other things that I can't think of right now. The class that I am currently enrolled in, is a bread baking class. I have wanted to learn how to bake bread for quite some time now...even tried it, got bread baking cookbooks, but I have never been able to master the art of bread baking. Thus, I am learing to bake bread this week. I have never been much of cook. My mother and sister are really good cooks. I mentioned that my father passed away when I was 6 years old, but did I mention that my sister and I are 15 years apart in age?! Yes, so, you see, Mother was always a home maker when my sister was growing up. She had hot meals on the table every day and baked cakes and pies and basically all kinds of "home made" foods; fast foods were not really that popular back then. When I came along, Mother had to go back to school and get her GED and then go on to nursing school. It was only the two of us and by the late 60's, fast food was becoming more popular. Oh, Mother still cooked when she had time and on special occasions, but she never really had the time to teach me to cook. I did watch her from time to time; using the mixer, baking for the holidays. This is what gave me the idea that I could bake a cake. Now, keep in mind, I was no young child when I baked this cake...maybe even junior high age. I got all of my ingredients out that the recipe called for and began reading the recipe and really felt confident that I could bake this cake while my mother was away at work. Well, let me first say that I think recipe books should be required to have a little dictionary in the back where it explains the terminology used therein. Because, how is one to know what certain words in that recipe really mean? OK...I'll agree that a little dictionary probably wouldn't have helped me with the problem I encountered. Having watched my mother occassionally use the mixer, I had seen her add eggs and sugar together and they would fluff up and make this great meringue. My recipe said to add the egg whites and sugar together in a mixer and beat them until they fluffed up. So, that is exactly what I did. I cracked those eggs in a bowl and threw the egg whites in the mixing bowl with some sugar...oh, wait a minute...did I mention that the only part of the egg that I could see that was white was the SHELL?? THAT'S what I put in the mixing bowl with the sugar! And then I began to mix that crunchy mixture with the beaters. Well, to my surprise, this mixture just did NOT want to fluff up. I couldn't understand that because I could have sworn my mother had done this very same thing. Oh well, not to worry, I just went ahead and poured it into the rest of my cake batter and BAKED IT that way. When Mother came home, she was so surprised to see that I had baked a cake and eager to taste a piece of it, she dug right in. Crunch, crunch, crunch..."Barbara, what is this crunchy stuff in your cake"? " Well, of course, that is the egg whites...however, I don't understand why they didn't fluff up like yours do". Mother then asked, "What, exactly did you put in this cake"? I replied, "The egg whites. You know, the shells...they ARE the only part of the egg that is white". I cannot explain the look on my mother's face when I revealed the secret ingredient of my "crunchy cake"! My cooking skills have improved some over the years, but I am still no expert in the kitchen...thus, "cooking classes". And I still think there should be some sort of little dictionary in the back of cookbooks!

Last...BUT Definitely Not Least!...Robby

Finally, I have made it to the last person in the photo...Robby; or as we commonly refer to him these days, Big Chief. We call him this because a couple of years ago, he and all of the children got their official Choctaw native American cards. He talks about "his people" quite frequently now and even has this dream catcher hanging from the rear view mirror in his truck. I've tried to tell him that I most likely have have more Native American blood than he does, but he will have none of it, asking me to show him MY card; I've given up on entertaining this conversation with him. Robby, however, is the "Big Chief" of this tribe. Apparently, we are all wildly undisciplined and need his help to keep us in line. I'm not going to lie, though...he HAS gottten all of us (mainly David and me) out of some pretty sticky situations over the years. Have you ever heard of that saying..."He walks quietly and carries of big stick"? Well, Robby does NOT walk quietly, but he DOES carry a big stick. OK...not literally a "stick", but believe me he doesn't need to. His shear size and demeanor command respect. We all know that he is a very kind and giving person, but he will have no nonsense where the kids (mostly those boys) are concerned. We were married very early in life; age 19 and 20. Justin came along pretty quickly afterwards, David 18 months later, Ryan 2 years later and then Caitlin 2 1/2 years after that (the 80's were a very busy time for us). When a family develops that quickly, one must "figure it out" quickly! When we married, Robby worked for an automotive parts house and I was employed at a local school for the mentally disabled. Realizing that is was going to take a little more to raise this brood, Robby moved employment a couple of times and along the way learned his first trade; air conditioning mechanic. He would go to his day job and get off around 3 p.m. every day and then head out to do air conditioning work...until sometimes midnight. Then, he would get up again the next day and do it again...and on weekends ...and on holidays. Times were hard, but good at the same time. I can honestly say that I was always happy and content where ever we happened to be in this journey called life. After David was born, I quit my job and stayed home with the children and Robby continued this work for quite a few years. Discipline and organization was always important with this many children, this close in age. Robby provided that and much more. Eventually, Robby became and electrician and then an electrical contractor. One day, a very nice man approached him and offered him an opportunity that landed him in a very good job doing this type of work. We often look back and realize how fortunate we are. All of the odds were against us...married very young, lots of kids very early in life, didn't make a lot of money...BUT our deep and abiding faith that God would bless us and take care of us got us (and still does) through those years. Robby is definitey the Big Chief of this tribe and it is visible to even an outsider that he has the love and repsect of all those around him. And this is our family! Now, hold on and enjoy all of the past and future adventures that are to come!

The Rest of the Crew

Well, I am going to try to FINALLY finish describing the members of this family. If you continue on down the line in the photo, you will find David. David is the "middle child"...well, the middle boy, but any way you look at it, he is definitely a middle child. David was born 18 months after Justin. While Justin came into this world as a quite docile child, David could not be more opposite. Born at barely over 5 pounds, David may have been a tiny thing, but his personality was HUGE! David came into this world with perpetual motion; he was and has always been full of energy. I think David cried for the first 2 years of his life, actually. Full of mischief and extremely active, David became an athlete very early in life. This was a great way to expend some of his energy...and he was good at everything he attempted. One would think that someone like that could not be successful at both sports and academic, but David was. Playing high school football and baseball, David finished up in the top 10% of his graduating class. He then went on the play college football and baseball and graduated from college Suma Cum Laude with a degree in biology and minor in chemistry. He has now completed his second year of medical school and is about to head off to do his rotations. Having said all of this, you must know that this child is not perfect. I know that most parents think that their child are flawless (deep down, they know this is not the case!), however, my children have always kept me in the realm of reality by doing things that reminded me they were indeed...NOT perfect. My husband, Robby, has always said that David is a clone of me...without a penis! I do have to admit that we are very much alike. We often times tend to be our own worst enemy. That is not to say that we are uncaring, but our mouths get us into trouble quite a bit. Honest to a fault...we don't "look before we leap"! And being honest, I must say that temper -wise, we can go from 0 to 100 in about a second. We are very passionate about everything we do. We don't like people telling us what to do or really even how to do it...we're kind of rebels ...ok, we are rebels. But, all of this being said, David is a very caring person and I believe that all of these qualities that make him so unique will make him a great doctor. Now, on to the next person...this is Codi. Codi is David's fiance'. Advice for her??? Hang on for the ride! David and Codi have been engaged for 2 years now and the upcoming nuptuals are July 10th. They decided to let David get through with his 2 years of medical school classroom work before they tied the knot. Codi is a very sweet girl, but the total opposite of David. Where David is the "jock" and really doesn't care much about where he lives or what he wears, Codi is a "fashionista". She is a beautiful girl with a very good sense of style (a girl after my own heart), however, this also makes her a little "high maintenance". Believe me, this is not an insult to her...she will admit this herself! The girl DOES like to shop...and not bargain shop. Where David is very social, loud and boisterous at times, Codi is quiet and reserved. That is not to say she is an unopinionated mouse; just quiet. Over the past 2 years, however, Codi has earned her place in the family by taking on the job as my mother's (Mam-Maw) know, kind of like "Driving Miss Daisy". And believe me, this is quite a job. My mother is 82 years old and a few years back, when told (unfortunately by me) that she could no longer drive, I was faced with the dilema of finding her a driver. At that time, David was home for the summer and drove her around the grocery store, doctor's appointments and basically anywhere she needed to go. When he got ready to head off to medical school, he suggested that Codi might like the job. Well, of course, this all had to be OK'd by Mam-Maw because, after all, one can never presume that Mam-Maw will agree to something. But, Mam-Maw had gotten to know Codi and was happy to welcome Codi as her new driver. I have to say, that the girl has made an impression on, doctors, etc. She drives Mam-Maw around to her appointments, manages her bills, takes her shopping and most times even eats out with her. She is a very patient person and does not rush Mam-Maw; allows her to move at her own pace. Yes, she has earned her spot in this family, indeed. Now, I'm not sure she knows all that this entails; being a part of this family. We are loud, opinionated and quite frankly can be a little intimidating to others at times. But, she will (and is) learning very quickly that to be a part of this crazy bunch of people, you must just jump in and become a fighter, because the weak will become devoured. No one is exempt from our "complete honesty policy"! But, I think that is one of the things that makes us so unique...we communicate. Even if it is something we do not want to hear, we talk about it and face it head on. That's just who we are.

More Introductions!

Well, the next person in this family photo is Ryan...Ryany-Poo...or as everyone in the family likes to refer to him..."Mama's Little Baby". He is the 3rd child and youngest boy in the family. And, yes the family actually took a phone poll amongst themselves and Ryan is considered my little baby. I'm not really sure why, except that Ryan is so different from all of the other kids. I wasn't sure if I would try to have a 4th child and so considered him my baby. He is absolutely the only "B" personality in this family and I should have know this from the very beginning of his life. He didn't ever take a pacifier, but drug his blankie and a little sheep he called, Baa-Baa, around for years. He is and has always been very laid back and he cannot be rushed to do anything at all. He has a very dry sense of humor and makes all of us laugh a lot. Ryan, in this picture, just finished college. He graduated Magna Cum Laude and will begin Dental School in July. As a child (an even a teenager), Ryan was quite sneaky. The only way you caught him doing something mischievious, was to actually catch him in the act...and that was very difficult since he was never a loud child. As a senior in high school, he was nominated for class personalities...class clown and party animal! He got party animal. My husband wondered why he couldn't get a more respectable nomination, such as most likely to succeed. No matter, Ryan has always been very likeable and easy going and party animal was a better fit for him...although, he is apparently going to end up being successful also.