Wednesday, July 14, 2010


11 is our family number.
My Daddy wore #11 in high school and college. He was the quarterback, and played baseball.

My brother wore #11 in high school and college. He too was the quarterback, and played baseball.

Shawn high-school sweetheart...wore #11. He wasn't the quarterback though - he was an All-State receiver. And he played baseball.

My birthday is on the 11th day of August.

We've just always loved the #11.

Tomorrow, on 7/15...Keith turns 11.
The first time I saw him - I loved him. He was 3. He wasn't handed to my by a doctor or a nurse. We didn't cut an umbilical cord. I don't know when he first slept through the night, ate solid foods, took a step.

Know what else? I. don't. CARE.

The only steps that matter are the ones he made into my heart. He has occupied it ever since.

He isn't "easy."
He isn't "normal."
We've come to realize that "normal" is just a setting on a washing machine.

So many people love him. None more than his Momma.
Sadly, as we've gone through the years, I've learned a lot about humanity through Keith. All the lessons haven't been pretty.

The world is filled of judgemental, close-minded people. I've come to see more ugliness than I ever imagined.

It never fails...I get so angry, so hurt.
Then I look at Keith.

He is often smack in the middle of judgement...but he has the purest heart of any child I know.

He is often isolated by the labels and boundaries placed on him by others.
Yet to me...his beauty is boundless.

Keith Martin is my HEART.
And today - my heart is full.

Tomorrow my heart turns 11.
My favorite number.

I look at Zack and I see my scrappy boy who will NEVER let anyone get anything past him. I don't worry about Zack.
I look at Griffin and I see my Politician/Lawyer. Heck, I see myself. I don't worry about Griffin.

I look at Keith and I see the hardest working child I know.
I see obstacles, struggles, and hurdles.

I see more adversity than I consider fair.

You know what I don't see?
Giving up. Quitting. Slacking.

I've been told that God allows adversity in the lives of those that He thinks can handle it.

God thinks an awful lot of my Keith.

I wish that everyone saw the beauty of him. Not his physical looks...but I must admit - he is a striking child.

I mean the beauty of his character. His personality. His abilities.

He is a harder worker than I ever thought of being.
He is the least judgmental soul I know.
He is capable of great, great things. I believe in him. I'm his biggest fan.

Yep, he's my heart. And now he's 11.
Happy Birthday sweet Keith. I love you more than you'll ever know.

just a trip down memory lane...from the old blog. i thought about this as i was typing tonight's entry...had to pull it up.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Guest Blogger

We are on a mini-vacation in "Wee-zee-ann-uh" (as Griffin says). I will have lots of fun pictures and stories to share once we return to reality. In the meantime, I have something special for my readers. A guest blogger. My niece Maddie. Maddie, or Cupcake as I call her, is so much like me it's scary. And I love it. Her parents...maybe not so much. :) I asked Maddie if she'd like to be "in my computer" and she replied, "Yep." So I interviewed her. So here it is.

Me: Ok Maddie. I'm gonna ask you some questions so you can be on my computer.
Maddie: Will Griffin be on there?
Me: Nope. Just you.
Maddie: Will Breanna be on there?
Me: Nope. Just you.
Maddie: Hurry up, I'm gonna go play with Griffin.
Me: Yes Ma'am.
Me: Maddie, what's your favorite song?
Maddie: Hannah Montana.
Me: Which Hannah Montana song?
Maddie: The Limo out front.
Me: Hey Duke (Maddie's Mom), is there a Hannah Montana song called The Limo out front?
Amy/Duke: (singing) You've got the Limo out front.
Me: I think that might be "The Best of Both Worlds."
Maddie: No. It's The Limo out Front.
Me: Alright Maddie, what's your favorite color?
Maddie: Pink & Purple.
Me: What is your favorite food?
Maddie: Pickles!
Me: What's your favorite drink?
Maddie: Sprike.
Me: Sprite?
Maddie: Yeah. Sprike.
Me: What's your favorite thing on TV?
Maddie: 16 Wishes
Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Maddie: A Princess.
Me: That's good. Which is your favorite Disney Princess?
Maddie: Um.....The Princess and the Frog.
Me: What is her name?
Maddie: Who?
Me: The princess on that movie?
Maddie: I don't remember. MOMMA, what is her name on the Princess and the Frog?
Amy/Duke: Tiana?
Maddie: Yeah. Her.
Me: What is your favorite place to go out to eat?
Maddie: Mexican.
Me: Where are you going to college?
Maddie: Alabama. With Griffin.
Amy/Duke: No you're not. You're going to LSU with Hannah.
Me: Nope. She said it. She's going to Alabama w/Griffin.
Gigi: Y'all stop fussing.
Me: Maddie, who is your BFF (hoping she'd say me)
Maddie: Griffin.
Me: Tell me some things you are good at.
Maddie: Handstands, cartwheels, splits.
Me: You sure are. Now tell me some things you need to work on.
Amy/Duke: Oh, I can think of LOTS of stuff here.
Maddie: (glaring at her mom) Ummmm....I don't know. Working on trampolines I guess. (she looked out the window and saw the trampoline so I guess that sparked an answer)
Me: Who is your pet?
Maddie: Sassy the cat.
Me: Who are you mad at right now?
Maddie: Nobody.
Me: That's good. Have you ever told a lie?
Maddie: (without missing a beat) Nope. Never.
Amy/Duke and Chris: (in unison) Whatever. You just told one right now.
Maddie: No I didn't!!
Me: What is your favorite thing to wear?
Maddie: Dresses.
Amy/Duke: Notice the pink and black dress she has chosen for her 4th of July outfit.
Maddie: (glares at her Momma) I like to pick MY OWN clothes.
Me: What do you wish?
Maddie: I wish my Momma was a little kid.
Amy/Duke: Why?
Maddie: So me and Breanna could play with her and I would get my drivers license.
Me: Ok. What kind of car are you gonna have when you turn 16?
Maddie: A limousine.
Me: What's your favorite toy?
Maddie: A scooter
*side note - you ought to see this girl on her scooter. she SCARES me she goes so fast on it.*
Me: What food do you not like?
Maddie: Soup.
Me: What is your favorite kind of ice cream?
Maddie: Banilla and strawberry.
Me: Do you have any secrets that you can tell me?
Maddie: Yep. (whispers to me) Patrick always says, "I like poo-poo pancakes." (then laughs maniacally)
Me: That's a good one.
Maddie: Yep! Are you gonna put it in your computer?
Me: Yep, I sure am.
Maddie: Good. I want my Momma to see it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Are You READY???


Monday, June 21, 2010

* boys of summer *

Let me catch you up on Shawn, me, and our 3. Over the past 2 weekends we've been in 2 different All-Star tournaments. The first was an Invitational at Vincent. It. was. HOT. This past weekend (starting Thursday night) we started our Regional Tournament in Clanton (West End). Of the 4 games we've played, we've won 3. We beat the North Chilton Nationals 17-7, Jemison 10-0, and Shelby County 15-10. We've burned up, had a game interrupted with a storm warning siren, burned up, laughed A LOT, burned up, scrubbed white uniforms, burned up, and basically - burned up. On Thursday and Friday nights, we got home well after midnight. Luckily Sat. night allowed us to get home early - it was around 11ish.

You haven't lived until you've had 2 little baseball players in solid white uniforms who seem to be drawn to the red dirt like a moth to a flame. Zack pitches, so in between each pitch, he rubs his right hand in the dirt, then wipes it on his leg. Basically, he creates red mud w/his sweaty hand and grinds it on his thigh...between each pitch. Then there's Keith. It's the darnedest thing...he just "happens to" slide about a million times a night. does Zack. Heck, so does every boy on the team.

You haven't lived until you've had to take a 5 gallon bucket w/a lid, and an industrial sized container of Simple Green and forced your children to strip down and change clothes in a ball field parking lot so you can soak their uniforms all the way home. I don't know what I've spent more money on lately - Powerade, sunflower seeds, and bottled water or various types of stain removers.

You haven't lived until you've been physically sick as you worried/prayed/cheered for your kids as all eyes are on them. The pressure...oh the pressure. I have been sick to my stomach as my "babies" have been up to bat, Zack has pitched, Keith has had fly balls hit to him, etc. I grew up the daughter of a coach. I've heard countless people second-guess my Dad, badmouth his decisions, etc. Same with Shawn as a coach. But when it's your baby...that's different. The pressure affects me far worse than it does them. It makes me worry, makes me sick. But them - they love it. It's just another game to them.

In between games we watch the boys. They sit around and laugh...they are having the time of their lives. The parents sit around and talk about when we all were growing up. We all went to school together, we all share the same memories of Little League and Vincent sporting events. We reminisce and go back to the early 90's and the days of our youth. Now, we're doing it all over again - but this time with our own kids. Time is flying.

I was thinking about all of this and had another memory. At my brother's wedding rehearsal dinner, my parents were giving their speech and introducing the groom's party. Well, being the good "athletic supporters" that they are (no pun intended!), they recognized a common thread among Chris' groomsmen. Each one of them played on some sort of team with Chris. Josh, his best man, started way back in Little League on the Reds, then they went on to play for VHS together. Some of the other guys were from various college teams. Mom and Dad kept all of Chris' jerseys, so as they introduced the groomsman, they brought out the jersey and talked of their days "on the field." I loved that.

Just last night, I had an epiphany. As I'm a nervous wreck Momma, buying sunflower seeds and Simple boys are being boys...with their future groomsmen. They might not realize it now, but they are forming relationships around the game of baseball; relationships that will last longer than the memories of scores and batting averages. (except to them, of course. i've learned that boys/men NEVER forget these things) So one a long, long, time...I'll have jerseys to hold up. Different sized mementos to represent a time of wonder for my sweet guys. Different teams - same bonds. Tomorrow, when I'm scrubbing out the red dirt stains...I'll think about that. I'm gonna want to hold them a little longer, while these jerseys still fit.

Hopefully...this will be the only solid white uniform I'll have to hold up. Next time...I'm voting for darker colors.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


*this post is dedicated to my pals, brigitte and kamin. both of you girls are alive to me. :)

I often find myself right in the middle of a tangent. I will "get on something" and ride the life out of it. Take for example the time I infused every single conversation I had with the "finger quotes." My mother HATED that. And I hearted it. Hearting things. That was really popular with me last summer. Making up song lyrics...I'm still coasting through that tangent. I don't forsee it ending anytime soon. But my latest tangent is alive and kicking. It is saying, "that is dead to me."

Dead to me. What does it mean? It simply means, "I'm over it." As I was teaching a coupon class a few weeks ago, I shared that Wal-Mart is "dead to me." Much to my surprise (and enjoyment, I must admit) I saw this quote on several FB pages. Let me explain what I mean. Is Wal-Mart convenient? You bet it is. But I have broken free of my coccoon of ignorance as far as Wal-Mart is concerned. They are trying to take over the world. AND WE ARE LETTING THEM! I say NO MORE! I don't HAVE to "just run in to grab a few things bc Wal-Mart is so cheap." NO THEY AREN'T! If you take a little time and shop with coupons, you'll quickly see how un-cheap Wal-Mart really is. They are banking on our a. ignorance to this matter, and b. laziness. NO MORE! Now before my vast audience dies a collective death, let me clarify a few things. Do I still shop at Wal-Mart? YES. I even buy some groceries there (only with coupons and super great deals though). BUT, I refuse to do my "main grocery shopping" there, and I refuse to fall victim to their top secret master plan of world dominance anymore. Thus...they are dead to me. And you know what? They're not alone. Here are some other things that as of today, June 17, 2010 are dead to me.

1. Oprah. DEAD TO ME. Oprah, with her "John Tra-VOL-tahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" and her glass of water with a crystal straw in it. I used to be a full-fledged member of the "I heart Oprah" cult. NO MORE! I am so over Oprah. Now I know that to some of you I am speaking blasphemy, and I apologize for offending you. However, I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR MY UTTER DISLIKE OF OPRAH. Who does she think she is? I'm just tired of her "I have arrived, I am better than all of you mere mortals" attitude. Her new age, feel-good, "The Secret" crap. "Read my books." No thanks Oprah. I'll choose my own. "Find your inner light." Nah. I have Jesus. He's my Savior...not YOU. You are dead to me.

Now I imagine that her minions of secret service people have now flagged my blog for daring to speak against her, and they are probably watching me from the skies. Whatever. Unless I get a personal invitation to be an audience member on one of her "Oprah's Favorite Things" episodes...she's still DTM.

2. Home Phones. 672-7067, you were good while you lasted. We had a nice 13 year run. Now, you are dead to me. I will admit...this one was hard to release. Unplugging the life support was painful and excruciatingly difficult. Could we live w/o a home phone? What would people think? I must thank my pal Amanda Campbell for seeing me through this difficult time. She too has a "dead" home phone, and she told me that we in fact would survive without a land line. Looking back now...I wonder why we didn't do it sooner. Why were we paying $80+ a month when we BOTH have cell phones that we use for the majority of our phone-talking? We didn't use our home phone for Internet service; we were basically throwing away that money each month. NO MORE. Dead to me. The saddest part is knowing that we are now dead to the phone book. Much like Navin Johnson from "The Jerk"...I lived for the day that the new phone book would arrive. I would hastily flip the pages until I found us, "Shawn and Amy Martin." Then, I'd look up all of our family and friends. Silly? Maybe to you. It was wholesome fun to me, and I loved it. is dead to me. Along with my home phone line.

3. Capri-Suns. Um, yeah. Did you see the FB post about what that lady in Florida found in her child's Capri-Sun? And before you go off to Snopes to prove me is totally legit. Kraft even released a reply. Their reply, "Don't worry. It's just mold." Sorry Kraft...not good enough. I don't want mold in my fruit-flavored juice. And I am SO not buying your lies. That is not mold. It looks like flesh to me. Whatever it is...I don't want it in my boys' drinks. So you, sweet Capri-Suns, are dead to me. And to my house as well.

4. Paying full price for groceries. Yes, I am a couponing FIEND. I've heard it all. "I don't have time to do coupons." Yeah, I have all the time in the world. Life is easy on Farmingdale Road. I MAKE TIME! Is it work? You better believe it is. But have you tried to feed 3 growing boys lately? I rest my case. Couponing is actually fun, it's like a game to me. While Wal-Mart is dead to me, Publix is my new home away from home. They are a couponers BFF. I will NEVER pay full price for a box of cereal again, when I now know I can get it for $1 a box. There are no shortcuts, there is no easy way. But if you are serious about saving money like I am...couponing is the way to go. And if you aren't serious...can I have your coupons?

That's all for now. I'm sure that I will think of more things that are dead to me. Until then - I have 3 wonderful LIVELY, full of life, alive and kicking boys who are wanting to go swimming. Well, only 1 of them can swim today, the other 2 have All-Stars tonight. So they will only play darts.

Until we meet again, RIP Wal-Mart, Oprah, home phones, Capri-Suns, and paying full price for groceries. It was good while it lasted, but you are all dead to me.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

how does your garden grow?

Growing up, we ALWAYS had a garden. I have shelled millions of peas, snapped beans, and gotten up early in the morning to "do the corn." I remember getting to ride in the back of the truck down the rows, pulling in the corn. Then we'd go sit under the big tree at my Aunt Rosa Lee's house and shuck and silk it. The best smell was when they would cut it off...I love fresh corn. Then they'd "put it up."

We always canned. I can remember my mom opening a jar of her tomatoes to add to spaghetti, soup, or my fave...stewed tomatoes on cornbread.

Peas and corn is my favorite meal. That's my birthday request every year. Peas and corn with squash, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers & onions in vinegar, fried okra. Nothing better in the WORLD.

Shawn looks forward to garden season every year. He would make my Aunt Rosa Lee proud. His is very orderly and neat; everything has it's place. He has a few types of tomatoes: Big Boys (my request...Rosa Lee said they were the best), Romas, cherry tomatoes (for Keith) and this year I'm pretty sure he has Heirloom tomatoes as well. He also has different types of peppers. He puts up several jars of pepper sauce each year. We go through pepper sauce, bc we put it in our peas, pinto beans, butter beans (him - I don't eat em'), cabbage, and turnip greens. He's planted squash, okra, green beans, corn, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and onions.

I told him that his hard work warranted a blog post. So here it is...
By the way...he isn't the only gardner in the family. See those beautiful hydrangeas? Yep - they're all me. :)