Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Goodie Bag

No, I am not dead. Do not adjust your browsers. It has really been since Friday that I blogged. I just had a very busy/lazy/relaxing weekend. Which led to a very busy catching up kind of Monday yesterday and now finds me on a very Holy Crud! Is it actually Tuesday? kind of Tuesday. So here is a little mixed goodie bag of a bunch of different things...

Just for posterity:

A few weeks ago Cindy won an essay contest for Polk County Family Week. I pretty much forced her to do the essay, she was the only one in her school that entered, she was ready to disown me and live with a new family because of how hard and annoying it was (yeah, 75 words was a near-death experience)- but in the end it was worth it :) Congratulations to Cindy!

(I love how the blowing flag is covering up the other two kids that got 2nd and 3rd. Chumps!)

2 Luke Quickies

We rented the new Winnie the Pooh Movie the other day for the kids. Luke has never ever been really interested in Winnie the Pooh. I kept asking him if I should rent it and he kept saying no. Finally, I got it anyway and brought it home and he yet again kept telling me he does not like Winnie the Pooh!!! I asked him why and he finally said, I just don't like it because his name is POOH! Oh, Luke :) I asked him if we should call him Winnie the Roger instead, but I am not sure he got my joke.

Luke did actually get sucked in and watched the whole movie. (It's very cute and not very long) At the end he was telling me about his favorite part. I love it when he can't remember the names of characters because he just describes them. So Luke's favorite part of Winnie the Pooh was when they tied a balloon on "the horse-dog's" tail. The horse-dog being Eeyore :)

And speaking of Luke, today I made him wear jeans and would you believe that he FINALLY fits into the 3T Levi's he got two Christmases ago???? NO. WAY.

Thanksgiving Movie Review

Besides that Winnie that Pooh movie, we watched 5 other movies during our Thanksgiving break. That is not a typo, I watched 5 movies. Well, watched/slept through 5 movies. Still, it was a holiday miracle! So here's what we saw...

Captain America- I fell asleep at the end and woke up right when he runs out into Times Square with Nick Fury. So it was a little confusing, but the eye candy that is Chris Evans MORE than makes up for that. Wowzers :)

Green Lantern- I pretty much fell asleep at the beginning and didn't see anything else. Jacob thought it was better than Captain America on account of it was way more exciting and not as tame. Captain America is still much better looking than Ryan Reynolds, however. According to me, not Jacob. I don't think he has an opinion on that.

Super 8- I did not fall asleep at all in this movie! Which certifies it as completely interesting and non-predictable. I loved this movie! The kid actors were incredible and JJ Abrams can still do no wrong. The language is a little strong, but a fun film nonetheless.

Pirates of the Caribbean 4- I heard some reviews that this movie was really awful so I guess my expectations being really low made this movie surprisingly average! To me it was almost exactly like the first movie only different actors on a different quest. (But just as much, if not more, eyeliner.) Jack Sparrow doesn't have as many of those one liners that you just love about him and the screenplay is not as punchy, but it's worth the dollar to rent for sure.

Unknown- I fell asleep during the middle and then woke up for the end. And in this movie plot, that will confuse the living daylights out of you. I had Jacob explain it to me and I actually thought it was really, really clever! It's kinda violent and not a real pick-me-upper kind of a movie, but very original, I have to say.

As we speak the kids and I are hard at work on putting up the Christmas tree. If Cindy were as dedicated to soccer as she is about holiday decorating, I would be overseas right now watching her play with the Women's National Team. She does not mess around :)

And finally, Top Ten Tuesday has been rescheduled as Top Ten Thursday. And might be officially changed to Top Ten Every Other Tuesday.

See how busy I have been?? This is exactly why I don't watch movies. They are blog killers.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Luke Quickie- With Visual Aid Bonus!

The other day I went to CVS with Luke. When we got up to the counter to pay for our stuff, there was a giant stocking hanging up in the air behind the register. Behold Exhibit A:

He saw it and thought it was highly amusing, so while laughing he said to me, "Hey Mom, look at that giant Santa Leg!" Therefore in the Sweeney household, they shall not be known as stockings, we shall hereby call them Santa Legs. So don't forget to hang your Santa Legs over the chimney and to get plenty of Santa Leg stuffers for the little ones. And if you make me some Christmas cookies, my favorite ones are the Santa Legs :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Will Run For Food

I thought that while I sit here completely bloated and ready to explode (and waiting for any online Black Friday action to hit the Internet), I could do a little blogging. Because moving my fingers is about all I want to do right now. Wow, it is amazing just how different I am feeling now compared to this morning. Once again, dark and early, I dragged Cindy over to Lithia to run with me in a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K and Fun Run. And once again I have the greatest father on planet earth, who not only drove me there at the crack of dawn (on his Thanksgiving morning), bought Cindy some hot cocoa, took pictures, held all my stuff, bought Cindy shaved iced AND bought us some breakfast afterwards. Seriously! He is the BEST :)

This year there were over 1600 runners. Isn't that ridiculous?! It was so crowded on the starting gun that it took almost half a mile before I could run at my normal pace, which is a little frustrating because I know my time suffered. Grrrr. But on the other hand I felt amazing during the entire run and felt like I really pushed myself, especially toward the end, which is usually my weakness. Final results will be posted tomorrow, but I ran somewhere about 27 minutes. I realized that I have missed the adrenaline of a real race. It is so much fun to pass the super fit gym rats, weave in and out of traffic and especially fun to toast some unsuspecting people right at the finish line. Ha! I think I took out 7 people in the last 20 yards with a supersonic sprint that no one saw coming! Hi-yah!

And my turkey hat was a big success after the race- I got several compliments, tons of smiles and even one person took my picture :) And here are a few of mine from the race:

Post race exhaustion (and you can kinda see Cindy's shorter new haircut too)

Cindy got a shirt this year! Score! And it isn't ugly! Double score! And it fits! THAT NEVER HAPPENS!

Cindy did a 250 yard dash and she came in 5th. I totally force her to do this race and she completely hates running, but at least she is a good sport and moves when the gun goes off :)

Done! Yay!

Getting a picture with the big guy himself. That hat was the best $2 I ever spent :)

I do want to say that we had a great Thanksgiving this year. Lots of food. Lots of relaxing. Lots of football watching. Some backyard activities and most importantly a high of 76 and no real need to wear pants. Wait, that came out all wrong. I meant no real need to wear pants, instead of shorts.That's much better. Although maybe I should have taken a page out of the Joey Tribbiani handbook of life and at least have worn maternity pants to dinner. The extra room would have come in handy :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

And the Winners Are...

It's that special time of year once again! It's the results of the annual Polk County Thanksgiving Food Drive! My dad is in charge of collecting, sorting and dividing up all the donations each year, which means I get to showcase all the bizzare, odd and otherwise mistfying things people try to give. Without further ado, here are this year's award winners:

"Tender Rounds: a Vegetable and Grain Protein Product." Well, that clears things right up, doesn't it?

And you were buying just the regular old sweet potato-flavored kind. BO-RING!

Because we needed a detective to figure out what this was: Adult Dog Food. Well, it is the turkey and potato formula, so it does make sense in a Thanksgiving-y kind of way. But in absolutely every other way, NO it's horrible.


"....Well, I don't want to give the WHOLE box of soup. One packet should be plenty. No one likes to each that much seaweed in one sitting anyway...."

I am not going to say one thing about this :)

According to the label on the back, and I quote: "Baconnaise is the continuing story of two bacon fanatics (Justin and Dave) who won some money on America's Funniest Home Videos and decided to use it to make everything taste like bacon." If nothing else, you gotta admit this would taste awesome on a day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich. Or a hamburger. Or fries. Or lasagna. Or scrambled eggs. Or an ice cream sundae.

And the big winner...

First off, why would you even HAVE a 4-year-old package of microwave popcorn you took from the Residence Inn? And what on earth goes through your mind when you think about putting it in the donation box? Probably, "Look at me, people! I am a giver! Especially of things I got for free which are not edible by man."

Not a bad year! Nothing has yet to top the Pokemon ball we got last year, though. Well, gotta run. Got some tender rounds in gravy cooking on the stove and later we are gonna watch a movie with some aged popcorn and Coke. Happy Thanksgiving to us!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And This is Why I Live Here

Yesterday Jacob and I drove to Clermont and did a little jetskiing on their chain of lakes. It was sunny with a high of 84 :) I didn't think to bring my good camera along (on account of it possibly taking a swim), so I only managed a few shots with my camera phone- which does an okay job when you compare it with the option of having nothing to show for yourself. We had an absolute blast! Despite discovering that jetskiiing, like car trips, makes me a little motion sick unless I am the driver. Who knew?

Here is Jacob driving off after leaving me on a random dock. I decided to let Jacob have 30 minutes to himself on the jetski to drive like a maniac without the threat of me tossing my cookies in his general area. And hey, how about them clouds? They were excellent for shape searching. I saw a dragon and a cow.

Yes, Brian, those are still the sunglasses from Spain you gave me. They are the best!

We did this because Jacob had never done it before and I thought it would be a fun way to spend our Thanksgiving break. Oh, and I got it for a screamin' deal on Groupon. And speaking of Groupon...


10. $20 for $5 worth of pizza
9. Half Off Integrity for Dummies course taught by Joe Paterno
8. 50% off a three-night stay in an Occupy Wall Street tent
7. 2 for 1 admissions to World of Wolverines Petting Zoo
6. Half off self-guided tour of the Clinton Obama "Grope 'n' Hope" Museum
5. $40 off six sessions of teeth yellowing
5. Buy one get one free on any entree at International House of Haggis
4. $10 for $30 worth of gerbil shoes
3. $25 off whole house lint removal
2. 2 for 1 gift baskets at Squids, Mollusks and More
1. Half off dog shellacking

(thanks to Dad and Dave for your input :)

And get ready! Because tomorrow I will be giving out awards for items received in this year's annual county food drive!! It really is the most wonderful time of the year :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

And Things Were Going So Well...

Well, I was really sure I was going to rock the turkey hat challenge- with no skipped days, no misses- but alas, my schedule is not cooperating :( I have been swamped with projects the past few days so I am going to have to play catch up from now until Thanksgiving. Which will be totally easy with Jacob and the kids being out of school for the entire next week, right? Well, it's my blog and I'll change the turkey hat challenge if I want to :) In the mean time, here is a small report on Legoland...

Cindy and I had a blast there last Thursday. Her whole second grade got invited to check it out for $5. Suh-weet! I think this park is absolutely perfect for kids her age and younger. And especially those with weak constitutions and those who are scared of riding anything that even looks like it might go over 1 mph. I conned Cindy into going on one roller coaster at the beginning of the day and after that I was on her shun list. She thought she was going to die and will never forgive me for almost ending her short life. Oh, the humanity!!!

However, after that near-death experience, we walked around the corner and found this ride (for very small children), where all you do is sit on a horse as it barely teeters back and forth on a track. She saw it and said, "Now THIS is more like it!"

There were only three kids in the whole class who didn't have a parent come with them, so I did actually have to chaperone for a few hours. Here is Cindy and her friend Priscilla outside one of the many rides that Cindy wouldn't go on.

The double-decker carousel was a big hit. (Although it did not have any music! What gives?) I did it twice, which was two times too many :) What can I say? I'm old and the lining in my brain is drying out. I just can't tolerate centrifugal force any more. I know my limits and I gladly accept them.

Look who we found!

I was constantly amazed by the stuff they can make out of Legos. Cindy, well, not so much...

Our Legoland used to be Cypress Gardens, which was a botanical gardens/amusement park/water ski place, so a lot of that stuff is still part of this new park. We ate our lunch under this giant shaded amphitheater, which had a great view of the Lego Pirates Water Ski Show, which is right on Lake Eloise. (Consequently, this is the exact place I did my first triathlon all those years ago :) Plus the breeze was blowing and it was absolutely a fantastic place to stop and take a break.

Southern Belles used to roam the old Cypress Gardens park, so this Lego creation was totally appropriate.

Cindy actually only rode about 5 rides in the entire park. She is a girl that knows what she likes and does not deviate from that plan of attack. The one ride we could not stay off of was Boating School. Although it DID provide me with ample opportunities to make endless Spongebob and Mrs. Puff references, and that was a source of much amusement for myself. The whole ride is just driving a little boat through this little winding canal. The boat is actually not on a track, so you really do have to push the gas pedal and steer it, otherwise you get all backwards and clog up the whole operation. Cindy was a great driver! I offered her $1 if she could navigate the entire course without hitting the side, but she missed it just by a hair. She did take her revenge by constantly steering me under the squirting pelican. I'll get you, Gadget!

And that was our day at Legoland. Can't wait for Luke to have a day there. He is gonna love it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why I Am So Far Behind...

I was out playing with Cindy all day yesterday, but in order to start catching up over the next few days...

I'll Wear Your Turkey Hat, Sam I am

This is Sam, who also works with my dad. Cool points for Sam for already being familiar with my blog and telling me that I "always come up with the funnest things on there!" Why, thank you, sir!

And as soon as I have any free time, more goodies will magically appear :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oh, Fate! You are so fun!

Definition of the phrase "It's a small world": When you go down to your Dad's office to set up Karaoke for his Thanksgiving party and he tells you that one of his co-workers would love to wear your Turkey Hat and when the co-worker comes around the corner you realize that she was one of your enumerators back when you were a Census supervisor in 2010.

This is Michelle and we really did work the Census together :) What are the odds!!?

A High School Quickie

And now, an even more awesome picture that came from a camera phone. The following picture was taken by Jacob during his 2nd period class. These two guys, WHO SIT NEXT TO EACH OTHER and aren't that good of friends, came in on the same day, WEARING THE SAME SHIRT.

I get all smiley and happy every time I see that picture. Because you know that MADE Jacob's day:) And it ain't every day you get to teach TWO Waldo's in one class...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011



1. I thought it was Monday

No, seriously...

Where Wearing Turkey Hats is a Pleasure

From the beginning of this challenge, I knew that I was going to get a Publix bagger to wear the hat. I knew it! And you want to know why? Because Publix is the most awesome store for customer service in the grocery world. Pretty much there isn't anything they won't do for you. Including wearing hats that resemble cooked fowl. Plus, this guy happened to be a Bartow High Alum so 15 extra cool points for him! In your dreams, Winn-Dixie...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

(Our neighbor, Mark)
Hey, Neighbor! Just wanted to say thanks for being so kind to us. You know, for kicking back all the balls we have kicked over your fence, for letting my daughter play at your house every single day for hours after school, for letting my kids use your trampoline and pool and for inviting us to your gymnastics party. In fact, just because we think so much of you, I am going to ask you to wear this hat. So we're pretty much even now, right?

A Luke Quickie

While in the car today waiting for Cindy to get off the bus, Luke found the finisher's medal I got at the 5K I ran on Saturday. He asked me what it was for so I told him it was from my race. Then he casually asked me, "What kind of race was it? Like on a horse.....or...what?" I couldn't stop laughing. Although my time for a 5K on a horse would KILL!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Turkey Cutlet

Tonight was haircut night here in Sweeneyville. Jacob cut Luke's hair first (which he did a fabulous job, I might add) and then I gave Jacob his once-every-two-weeks trim. I was either going to charge him $12.95 plus tip for haircut, or he had to wear the Turkey Hat. It was a lot closer of a decision that you might think...

(Luke had just woken up from an almost 4-hour nap, so he wasn't too excited about the hat either ;)

Two Things I Forgot

These pics need to be included in the Sweeneyville book, so even though this is shameless backblogging, nevertheless, it must be done.


Halloween festivities always officially start with the Bartow Halloween Parade outside of Grandma Bingham's office on Broadway. This year Grandpa Bingham got to come too! YAY!

The parade seemed much shorter than the ones in year's past, but this parade did have one thing we had yet to see previously-

The General Lee! Now all we need is some banjo music and a case of moonshine to smuggle over the county line before Sheriff Judd gets his hands on us.

The kids got tons of candy and Luke practically had to take a nap halfway through.

Cindy and Maddie :)


We attended a wonderful trick-or-treating party over at a friend's house on Halloween night and my kids had the time of their lives! Friends, pizza, candy, stories, goody bags, running around, dogs and cats living together- it was mass hysteria! We actually got out and went door-to-door trick-or-treating, which went from "Whoo-hoo!!" to "Mom, can you hold absolutely all my stuff and carry me?" in zero to 5 seconds for Luke. I think he made it about 5 houses before he was ready to call it a night :) But we had to make a pit stop over at Grandma and Grandpa Bingham's to show off the costumes first.

One more picture of the Buns of Glory!!!

Two houses over from my parents, there is a house that always gets really into Halloween and this year they had set up a mini haunted house. So my dad walked down with me and the kids to check it out. In reality, on a scale of 1 to 10 for scariness, this house was about a 1. The kids, on the other hand, thought it was at least a 60 and were on the brink of death just deciding whether to look inside of it. Finally they mustered the courage to walk through and by the end they were doing laps. I will say that the guy had an absolutely awesome bubble machine that was blowing bubbles that had fog inside them! When you popped them, the smoke would come out and vaporize. It was straight out of a Harry Potter movie- so, so cool!

Okay, I am all caught up on Halloween! Stay tuned for "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" and, of course, LOTS more Turkey Hats :)

As you were...

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Today has been a marathon of a day, and for Jacob it is still not over yet! We attended the big Polk County Family week kickoff celebration event over in Winter Haven this morning like we do every year, but this time I was running the 5K while Jacob was setting up our sound equipment for the event. I was there with the kids til 1:30pm, but in the mean time Jacob was coaching his high school soccer team at Winter Haven High School at noon. Then he came back by the event to grab Cindy and drive to Brandon to coach her team. After cleaning up at Polk Family week I then went to Brandon with all the sound equipment to watch Cindy's game. After eating dinner as a family afterward, Jacob then had to leave to DJ a Single Adult dance, also in Brandon, where he is at this exact moment. What a day! I am too tired to even blog about any of the details. So here is the telegram version of today's events and one day I might explain it all...

5K good. Too short. Placed first! Stop.

Cindy won essay contest. Stop. Too much prize money. Stop.

McKeel team tied. Now 1-1-3. Stop.

DeAnne is an angel. Stop. You already knew that. Stop.

Cindy's team lost. Strong performance for her. Very proud. Stop.

Been outside all day. Stop. Tired. Wind burnt. Exhausted. When will this day...Stop?

And here is the Turkey Hat picture of the day, which is taking all of my remaining energy to post. You're welcome :)

This is Denise, one of the hygienists who works in the dentist office with my mom. Taking this picture was almost painful for her because she says she NEVER has her picture taken. EVER. She says anytime someone takes one of her and then sends it to her, she deletes it. She says she hardly has any pictures of her at all. That makes me sad! Does anyone else do that? I hope not! I mean, come on, Denise, look at this picture! I can't think of a single reason you wouldn't want another human being to see it! But just to humor your crazy insecurities, this blog post will self-destruct in 30 seconds.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Only a True Friend Would Make You Wear This Hat

And now the Turkey Hat has chosen Brenda. She works with my mom at the dentist office there in Bartow. I think our family has known Brenda since the dawn of time. She has always been there for us over the years and is a phenomenal example of a loyal friend. Plus she constantly threatens to kidnap Luke and take him home with her just so she can pinch his cheeks every single morning. Luke responds to these advances with his tried and trusted method of not making eye contact and refusing to acknowledge that Brenda exists. Love ya, Brenda!

A Luke Quickie

Today as I was pulling into my mom's driveway, Luke got very excited in the back seat and said that he saw something in the grass across the street. After we parked, he very excitedly got out of the car and starting walking toward what appeared to be a crumpled up white plastic Wal-mart bag in the overgrown grass. As he moved toward it he said very excitedly, "Mom, I think there is a chicken angel over ther- oh, wait that's just a bag." Dang! I really, really, REALLY wanted to see what a chicken angel was. Maybe next time...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

And For My Father?

My dad was off from work today, which gave me the perfect opportunity to go and take his picture in the Turkey Hat. And, of course, when I went to the house he was working on the patio. My dad has officially been "working on the patio" since he was a small boy. I honestly think this project has lasted as long as Luke has been alive. Fixing the leaking roof, painting, carpentry, screens- it just never ends. Ever. He swore to me today that tomorrow he is going to celebrate Veteran's Day by finishing the floor. And then he is pretty much done. I love ya, Dad, but I'll believe it when I see it...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

That'll Be Four Thousand Dollars

Our car Rocket was in the shop last week, so when I went to pick him up I decided to make the mechanic wear the Turkey Hat. Considering that my in-laws and I are responsible for pretty much his entire paycheck each month by our constant visits, it was the least he could do :)

I also need to give a proper shout out to Cindy, who was one of four kids in her 2nd grade class that made straight A's this grading period. That's my girl!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Do Me a Flavor and Wear This Hat, Wouldya?

You know you picked a good place to live when soccer season starts in late October and Rita's Italian Ice commits to selling frozen treats at every home game :) Yep, definitely enjoying our mild "winter" so far. So I did convince the guy selling the italian ice to wear the Turkey Hat. What can I say, I am very persuasive! And speaking of Rita's, it's time for Top Ten Tuesday!

Sean, I am pretty sure you never saw any of these flavors up in Pennsylvania, did you?


10. Swedish Fishstick
9. Key Lyme Disease
8. Ocean Spray Clamberry
7. WD-40 Below
6. BeaƱa Colada
5. Rodent Medley (inspired by the Obama administration)
4. Cookies n' Squid
3. Venison Swirl
2. Oyster Fudge Ripple
1. Root Beer Goat

Sorry for making you hungry!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wear It for The Gipper

This is completely off topic (i.e. nothing to do with Turkey Hats) but I was just wondering if I am the only one who totally rocks out to loud music every. single. day. I mean, I listen to music when I run, but I am talking about cranking it up really loud in your house, singing along, shaking your groove thing and doing what you gotta do. Am I alone in this? The single most important function of my computer is not the Internet (well, maybe that's a little bit of a lie), not my pictures, not Facebook, Word, Excel, or anything else. It is the fact that it is my 12,000 song jukebox. A day does not go by that I don't turn the receiver up to volume level 21 and let the music move me. It is like an instant pick me up! Anyway, if you don't do this, you need to. I have plenty of song suggestions to get you started :)

Second thing, also off topic, if you have an iPhone or iPod touch and need a new app to try, CliffDiving is awesome. I got it for free yesterday and I am totally addicted to it today. Check it out.

And now the moment you have all been waiting for! My 13 page dissertation on string theory as an active research framework in particle physics which attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. This is going to be RADICAL!!!

Just kidding :) But you will never guess who is wearing the turkey hat today!


What? I told you you would never guess! This guy sits in my Dad's office at the house and I think he looks rather dashing :)