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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Farmer's Wife Christmas!

Santa came. Oh yes he did. And, he spoiled everyone - so we must have been very goods boys and girls this past year. GO SANTA! GO US!

And, of course the grandparents spoiled me and the Hubby and the kids too. We are so blessed.

I know I'm a little bug eyed fighting the flash; this was the best with the four of us, LOL!

I got a donut maker (so I can be super mom for the kids) and a roaster! Always wanted/needed one but wouldn't ever buy it for myself. And, a few other spoils from MIL and FIL. Mom gifted us meat - yes, straight from the meat market - yum! Daddy gifted us cash! And, Hubby went over board on me (I knew he was going to do that, LOL!)

He had a fishing pole made by John Deere duded who makes them on the side. All personalized with my favorite colors! I haven't had my own pole in ages. And, he got me a FOOD SAVER! Smokin' awesome! Y'all all know how I am about 'freeze it!' for anything. Bulk sale meat and food, left overs, etc. If I can refreeze it I'll make another meal or two out of it. So a food saver is PERFECT! I already saved the extra turkey from dinner with my mom and baby brother - to pull out in February for meals! Sweet!


Farmer, Jr.
Look at those happy, shining faces? Who wouldn't be happy opening pretty wrapped presents? (Farmer, Jr. in his new winter hat. He loves it - and he looks so adorably handsome, right? Or am I just biased?)

Now on to New Year's Eve, 2012, and the Livestock show. Whoop!

My youngins and two of their bunnies :-)

Can you believe the kids are both smiling in that picture? Sitting together and getting along? That is rare; but they are holding bunnies. Everyone has to smile about cute, fluffy, white bunnies. :-D

Here is Farmer, Jr. working on his shop project: a deer blind. Hubby is teaching him how to weld. Pretty cool.

Notice the safety gear; good boy FJ!
Lil'Gal working on her baking:

She's concentrating on her measuring. Personally, you can never have too much vanilla.
It's been a good year. We are very blessed. I wish you all a Merry end to 2011 and a Wonderful beginning to 2012. All good and bright. Blossoms and Sunshine. Butterflies flittering about your mind.

Happy Hump Day!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

What to get the man who has everything...

So the Holly Jolly, belly-full-of-jelly guy is coming in three - scratch that two days and an overnight trip.

Hubby and I agreed - okay, well I asked like three weeks ago:

"So, our watches are our Christmas, right? Because I have a really good idea but I had decided to save it when we agreed your watch would be your gift and I already said my watch would be my Christmas." [These are really expensive, you'll never need another watch, watches. And, as blind as I am at night I've been going through $50 Walmart watches like mad - I never take my watch off. I bathe, fish, cook, swim, everything with the watch on.]

Me, "So agreed? Because I can get you the other thing or something else but I know we are watching the $. So, I thought I'd get that for Valentines/Anniversary or I'd get it for you for Father's day." [It's really cool. It's a neon sign for his barn. Don't tell, kay?]

Hubby, "That's fine. Sounds good." Or whatever he said while watching his show and scanning pages on his LT.

Me, "Okay, I just don't want you to be pulling some extra presents out of your PIE and I have nothing?"

Hubby, [I think he nodded.]

Two nights ago, I think it was. I got this eery feeling that he wasn't keeping his end of the agreement. I put a Facebook post asking for MADAY suggestions. Because, he's the guy who has everything OR, he has to pick it out or give you the exact specifications - thus, he knows what it is.

I had some great suggestions. A belt - yeah, he can always use a new dress or work belt.
A Hunting or Fishing Wii game - yeah, he even mentioned they have a hunting one but then you also have to buy the 'chuck' gun attachment.
A Range Finder (that one is high dollar but a great idea)
Home made coupons - great idea, cost no $, but I tend to be selfish and he tends to turn them in when I'm not in the mood to fulfill the duty. Besides, Lil'Gal gives a better foot massage than me. (Y'all had your heads in he gutter again, didn't y'all?)

Last nights conversation:

Me, "So, we agreed our watches are our Christmas right? Because I had some ideas but I didn't get you anything extra."

Hubby, " [Smiling] Well, I got you a few little extra things."

Me, [inside, Dammit!! I knew it!!] "Oh. Well, now I feel kinda crappy." Or whatever I said that basically meant that.

So, today was supposed to be a slow day. Only appointment? Sign some legal papers before the new year. But, then the kids dentist called and was able to squeeze their appointments in during holiday break - which is way better than during the school day, or after school. And, we still have those papers to sign. And, I have to go BACK to the grocery store. AND, I gotta' get Hubby something extra to put under the tree.

On an up note, I kicked the whole family's pie at Wii bowling last night, I'm almost finished with my beta read of the new-and-improved 'The Spirit Keeper' formerly known as 'The Seventh Tribe' written by my dear friend and favorite author, Melissa L. Garrett. And, I get to bake a chocolate pecan pie for my brother and a turkey tomorrow to share with Mom and my babiest brother for our early Christmas tomorrow.

Oh, AND we are out of school through January 2nd! Rockin' Awesome! Oh, and I'm going to have my posse gals and their significant others over for New Year's Eve and we are going to have a Wii dance off and a Wii bowling off and eat lots of not-good-for-you-but-super-yummy food!

Then, I'm going to start a real exercise routine and diet on January 1st. Because I'm going to be 40 in 2012.

So, it's all good. And, I've got a plan. :-D Farmer*sWife always has to have a list, a calendar and a plan.

Happy "It's almost FW favorite day of the week AND it's almost Christmas!!"

Oh, and wish me luck on 'operation-find-hubby-something-without-getting-smothered-in-the-crowd'!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lil'Gal's Favorite Chicken Casserole

I have to share this because it is soooo easy and so delicious and Lil'Gal just LOVES this casserole. The first time I made it I googled chicken casseroles, looking for something that didn't include cheese (although, sometimes now I do). I was in need of a quick casserole to make for dinner and I had flash frozen chicken breasts on hand. They are easy to defrost and very tender.

So, I found a creamy chicken casserole. I don't know if I adhered to the recipe completely because I rarely do, unless it is baking. That is totally different.

With this time of year (although, our weather today was a muggy 78+ with spots of sunshine) this is a great, yum-up and then snuggle-up dinner time meal. Lil'Gal always asks for it on a left-over night or for lunch when we are home.


Can you see the creaminess inside?

(makes a 9x9 or 9x11 dish depending on how much chicken you use and how thick you like your casserole)

2 - 3 large chicken breasts; or a boiled whole 3-5 pound chicken
1 - 1 and a 1/2 cans of cream of chicken soup
8 oz of sour cream
optional: 1/2 cup grated monterrey jack
butter crackers
salt, pepper, seasonings (Nature's by Morton [msg free]; Cavender's All Purpose Greek Seasoning)

cook and shred or chop chicken into bite sized pieces
add seasonings to chicken (I like Cavender's all purpose greek seasoning and Nature's season by Morton)
*you can season your chicken as you prefer but these are what we use
mix in cream of chicken soup; how much depends on how meaty you are making your casserole; you don't want it too soupy or it'll will be watery when cooked. But you want enough to cream it up
next mix in the sour cream
** if you like, mix in a 1/2 cup of grated monterrey jack cheese; optional. Often I go cheese free.

Last: crush butter crackers, enough to cover the surface of your casserole depending on what size dish you are using. I use almost one whole pack and put them in a quart zip bag and let Lil'Gal roll them into crumbs with the rolling pin

Non-stick spray coat your baking dish. I always do this for an easier clean up. Dish your casserole mixture into your baking dish and spread evenly. Top with your butter cracker crumbs.

Bake at 325 for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and the crackers are slightly browned on top.


Another idea you can do; kinda' along the thought of Chicken-a-la-King is to serve it over steamed mixed veggies. Super-Yum. At least to a veggie lover like me. :-D


Monday, December 12, 2011

Caught in an Electronic Noose

Long gone are the days of the noose, or are they?

I have to say, in my own technological way, I got myself in quite a pickle. Or, as I like to refer to it, an electronic noose. Follow along closely because it gets quite complicated even though it is actually a simple issue. Of course, those simple issues tend to have a high end $ fix.

So, like - I dunno' - five - six weeks ago? It was in October when the new iPhone 4S came out and iCloud was released as a free upgrade for the rest of our iGadgets as well, I went on full out update mode. Y'all remember I was all up in a cloud of my own. I updated EVERYTHING. The iPhone. The iPad. Kid #1 iPod Touch. Kid #2 iPod touch. I emailed the Hubby the link and the SIL. This was a very big thing. I updated MIL's iPad to sync with the iCloud and her iPhone. I was on an 'i' update mission.

After reading the awesomely coolness of apple's new operating system LION OS  I decided that I deserved and would put this new OS to good use. So, I purchased it and waited the next 12 - 16 hours for it to download and install. Then, I got reeeeeaaaally, really busy and wasn't home enough to play with it, for weeks.

When, I did get to play with it I discovered that we don't have a time capsule (we no longer use apple airport, etc for our wireless in the house. Hubby had the tech guys make changes to speed up our internet - this I did not know). When I found out we didn't have the time capsule I realized I couldn't back up, so I can't finish up with the boot camp assistant and in the end I can no longer access my word program because it was old in serious need of upgrading too and on parallels. I no longer need parallels and the old word required them. *sigh*

FYI, when I asked the Hubster why we didn't have the time capsule he replied, "I didn't think we needed it." After a stern look from me, he added, "Well, I didn't need it." Grrrrr-diddle. >:-/ We totally need it. It automatically and wirelessly backs up all the computers in the house.

So, since then I've been holding off and running half mass of the awesomeness that is LION until I get the capsule (that runs about $200, there are cheaper ones but I want it to back up three LTs), to finish the upgrade to have Mac be totally awesome and up with the rest of my iDevices in the wonderful iCloud Steve Jobs left us with upon his regretted demise. [I miss him and his genius.]

Anyhow, my writing assignment ended up being turned in late because I couldn't open some docs in word and had to open and view via google docs so that I could type up my story and info via Pages on the iPad and then submit it via email. The cool thing though, when I went to the iCloud on the LT there were my documents. All nice and purdy and ready for me to down load.

NOTE: Lion comes with a great version of TextEdit which has the same features as word for the most part - but the navigation is a lot slower for me (a LOT slower) because I'm not familiar with it.

Anyhow, I love technology. And, I am lucky enough to have several devices to save me when I hang myself in an electronic noose. Don't blame the gadgets - this one is all on me.

Happy Monday!!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

4-H: Look at the bunnies!

I told y'all the bunnies were coming! And, they are so cute and adorable! And, lovable! And huggable! Hubby picked them up yesterday while me and the kids volunteered and then played at the school's Winter Fest. That was really fun because it was put on by the entire ISD and had lots of fun and cool booths to play and shop at.

This morning we headed out in cool, rainy, dreary weather to have the bunnies validated. That is where they check them and tattoo their little ears so that people have to use the rabbits they raise for the project (to keep people from cheating and buying other rabbits to win the show). The weather didn't bother me though because we had adorable bunnies with us. Who can be grim with cute, fluffy white bunnies?

I made a vlog with my iPhone but blogger and YouTube wouldn't accept the formatting. Go figure. That's alright. I'll save myself the embarrassment of speaking baby-bunny talk for three minutes. (I can't help it though, they are just such adorawable widdle things.)

Here's a few photos from the first official (daily) weigh in.

See? Aren't they just the cutest darned things? We have ten of'em. :-D Only 8 will make the show though. Which isn't until around the 19th (the show starts the week before that). We'll be doing some baking too. (Of course, not with the bunnies - with flour, butter, pears, sugar, etc. Get your minds out of the fryer.)

Bunnies at Christmas time are the best animal project ever! Although, Mr. Cuddles gets a little cranky because he gets side stepped in the adorable category by the soft white bunnies.

But Mama is sure to take care of him too.

:-P Hoppy Saturday (dontcha' just love my humor?)


Friday, December 9, 2011

Fabulous on Friday

I so own today. Really!

I woke up knowing I own it and this particular Friday knows it too! Well, it was a little struggle at 5:01 to get my mind to convince my body to crawl out of bed. But, after that it's all down hill!

The kids have early release today - so as of noon we will officially be on our holiday break! Super Yay! Three whole weeks of sleepin' in and no 5:am wake ups.

I'll run a few errands and then pick up my kids and Les' lil'Diva and we might even head to Dairy Queen because - I'm just in a D.Q. kind of happy mood today. To which three young voices will chime in YAY!

We have to be at the high school campus at 3:pm to help Farmer, Jr.'s teacher/s set up for the Winter Fest this afternoon. This is a district wide event. And, it is going to be big and - dare 'I' say it about a festival full of masses of people - FUN! Of course, being on the first shift to set up means we also get to play early and before the rest of the world gets away from their day job. So the masses won't be so bad.

AND, more happy news! Farmer, Jr. pulled his science and language arts grades back up to Bs. So, he made A-B honor roll this six weeks. Which means no worries about 'no pass-no play' for participation in the LiveStock show. [We all know this is never an issue with Lil'Gal because she rocks school.]

THE LIVESTOCK SHOW? Yes, we all know what that means. BUNNNNIIIIIIEEEEEES!!

While I'm working/playing with the kids at the festival the Hubster will be picking up ten, adorable, soft, huggable, lovable, little bunnies. We'll come home to white fur, wiggling noses and pink eyes.

And, this year Lil'Gal gets to participate and enter!

With the livestock show coming it is time to get down and floured in baking to decide what recipe the kids want to enter. Oh, and we will be making and decorating Christmas cookies. FJ has been begging me. But as I always say - when we are on break. I run a pretty tight ship during the school schedule.

Obviously, I've had my HUGE mug of coffee and my fingers are flying across the keyboard and I could ramble on about sooooo much more but my ten minutes are up and it is time to really start this day - meaning start the family. :-D

Happy FW favorite day of the weeeeeeek! My second favorite Friday of the year!!! (Can you guess what my first favorite Friday of the year is?)


Thursday, December 8, 2011

My favorite holey jeans...

About a year ago, I wrote a post at Triond about my favorite pair of jeans. Luckily, they still exist. They've made it yet, one more year. Sure, they have holes and frays. But so far, not in those 'conspicuous' places.

It's cold outside. And, all of my responsible, pressing 'to-dos' are within the home today - other than getting the youngin's to school and back. After all, the laundry and toilets don't care if I go casual.

When Hubby sees me in these jeans, he takes notice and in his endearing concern for my well being he will kindly inform me that these jeans have holes. I always smile. These are the jeans that fit me so well. The perfect pair. They are over nine years old.

Truth be told, I hated them when I first got them home from the store. But we grew to love each other over the years.

They fit like they were cut and stitched for my body only. I love them. I still haven't found a replacement for them. I don't know how much longer they can hold out. I try to keep them on a shelf - to wear them only on those days that call for their particular level of comfort in an effort to extend their life expectancy.

But today is a day that requires the cold weather clothing comfort only they can provide. So today, I greet the world in my 'holey jeans'.

Happy Thursday! The day before FW favorite day of the weeeeeeeek!!!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Library Birthday Books! Super Cool!

HANK THE COW DOG - a series boys 8-9-10 love and enjoy and that makes getting those AR points fun.

But, why doesn't Farmer, Jr's library have book #58 - the latest in the series. He has brought this to his wonderful/awesome librarian's attention. And, then....

I have to share another cool thing about our new district. Birthday books. The librarian will recognize a student's birthday with a book. The parent has to pay for the new book, of course (at a set fee). The librarian will then order a new book with those funds and it will be dedicated erternally to 'that child' and that child is allowed to check that book out first - on his/her birthday.

My description sounds formal but it really is cool. The child is called to the office on his/her birthday for the morning announcements and then presented with the book (of which the librarian has already checked out to that student because the librarian is totally awesome that way) and everyone else then wants to read that book (and gets the benefit of said book for the rest of its library life).

Farmer, Jr. has been nagging at me and at some times his librarian - the Awesome Mrs. Mc - that she really should have the latest in the 'Hank The Cow Dog' series. That being book 58. When we visit public libraries he checks the stock of 'Hank The Cow Dog' and compares to what Mrs. Mc has provided on the shelves at his campus. Lil'Gal checks her library shelves and has mentioned to me, to which I mentioned to her Mrs. M, the we are quite lacking on the HCD book series. Of course, the reading level is higher - multiple at 4.2 grade level and above - but still, even Mrs. M agreed that she has above grade level readers in bulk from time to time.

So, the FUN PART!

Farmer, Jr's, birthday is the exact day we return from Christmas break. So, I asked Mrs. Mc, 'Could we do the #58 in the series for FJ's birthday book donation?' She, being so awesome, said 'Of course!' But, she wouldn't be able to get it in in time the way she has to order. So, I ordered it in leu of a check to the school for a book and come return after the holidays Farmer, Jr. is going to be THRILLED to not only get to read book #58 in the series but to know that after his prodding he actually got to DONATE the book to the library for all those other HCD readers. And, volunteering in the library? Let me tell you. There are many, many, many HCD lovers. :-D

FYI, Farmer, Jr. has 80+ AR points. The highest in his class, even over the GT (Gifted and Talented) kid in his class - and I think above all the kids in 4th grade. *GO FARMER, JR!!* At 100 points, Mrs. Mc puts a student's picture on the wall of fame and the Boy and Girl who score the highest for the year get crowned AR King and Queen. He's shooting for the crown. :-D

That is my happy note that fell to my errands today that actually took me to three places, shopping, and the internet to conclude.

Tomorrow is Thursday. Happy 'No Homework' Thursday to be proceeded by 'Early Release Friday' and the totally awesome 'Winter Fest'! AWESOME. Totally.


Taking TEN

I've been on this mission this week. Well, trying to incorporate a mission into my morning routine. Like I did in the old days, you know the waaaay old days when I actually posted a minimum of once a day - particularly in the mornings. My mornings have been rolled back by and hour and a half and filled with more things to be done. But, I've started taking ten.

I check the clock and do my FB updating/check-in while waiting on the coffee pot to brew. That's my get vertical time. Then, I keep a keen eye on the time while I paint myself a face and flip a curling iron in my hair. I catch the news and weather during that self-prep time and hopefully all things on task - I get to sneak back into the kitchen with about ten quiet, to myself, whatever I want minutes.

And, here I am. Taking my ten. Rambling to all of you (taking up part of your ten) about what's new, what is on the agenda and hopefully filling your mind with blossoms and sunshine. :-D

Unfortunately, on this particular morning it is cold outside. Very cold. I'm not talking typical Farmer*sWife complains because its 56 degrees which to a lot of y'all is spring time weather. I'm talking 29 degrees with wind chills in the lower 20s. Who can grow blossoms and sunshine in that $h!t?

Some people find the cold festive. I have kids to get to school and errands to run and I have to tell you this cold spell is pee-ing on my festive spirit. I'm feeling quite scroogy. Can one attend a secret Santa party with a tracking confirmation saying 'your gift will arrive on' because I'd prefer to hole up inside and handle life online today. :-P

I've consolidated my day into one errand after dropping the kids. One errand all the way in the 'city'. And, I'll be there early and have to wait for the store to open. But, it'll be worth it. Everything on the kids party lists will come from Barnes & Noble. Books for everyone. Gift cards for reading. Because when it is cold, I'm a one stop shopping kind of girl. And, Santa is all about the books.

FYI, while I wait thinking quietly to myself 'OP-en, OP-en, OP-en' I'll be finishing the latest book on my kindle. 'Cuz I'm all cool that way. I've only got 15 more to go to get my to 50 read this year. And, I've still got 20 plus days to go.

Happy Hump-Day! Put some dignity in it. And, thanks for sharing ten with me this morning. :-)


Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday's madness

OK, not really so mad for a Monday. Well, kinda. After losing an entire Sunday due to illness that kept me horizontal and snoozing for 24 + hours I feel a week behind. But, I managed to sneak in 9 extra minutes this morning before I wake the household to start our week. So, I'm spending it drinking coffee and babbling to y'all.

The kids get out of school on Friday, 1/2 day. But, I'm working first shift at the Winter Festival with FJ's homeroom teacher (I *heart* her). It'll be cold too. And, everyone knows Farmer*sWife don't like the cold. It's in the 50s and windy today. Tomorrow will be colder, and then Wednesday even worse. By worse I'm talking in the 30s. FW don't do the 30s. I do 95 degrees with a triple digit heat indice (did I spell that right?). I'm hoping to peek at the calendar and see that I have nothing pending outside the house so I can hole up and hibernate. [I peeked. I have a seminar/meeting with Hubby on Wednesday. Poo.]

Today is library day for both kids campuses but Hubby says since I spent yesterday supine I should probably steer away from that duty. In addition I need to make a serious trip to the grocery store - in the cold and wind mind you - and get a few Christmas items tackled.  Mrs. Clause can't do much with children tagging along so I better get to it this week.

Oh, and parties. Parties, parties, parties. Doughnuts for this, dozens of cookies for that, secret Santa over there, donations for project A,B,C here.

And bunnies. Yes! THE BUNNIES ARE COMING! Hubby will be picking them up Friday while I work the festival and let the kids throw dollars at the various booths in an effort to support the district. Be ready for lots of pics here and on FB. Bunnies are just too adorable and cuddly and they make everyone smile.

I've finished two more books over the weekend (even considering yesterday's loss). I'm shooting for 50 this year on my Goodreads page. I thought I'd read more this year but I'm at like 33. Wait + 2 = 35. So, 15 more between now and the 31st? Can I do it? I'm gonna' try.

Well, the coffee didn't entirely lift the fog still wafting through my brain. I'm hoping it's lagging from sleeping so much.

That's what I gots to say about Monday. Hope y'all have a good one!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

A mushy post :-)

Howdy all,

It's a somewhat windy, weird, gloomy kind of Saturday on the outside but on the inside it's calm, quiet and pretty much perfect. Some of the house has risen but they have remained in their residential places leaving Farmer*sWife with peace, coffee and the laptop. :-)

I've been wanting to write this post for days but I've had so much other stuff going on, including getting my  Creative Writing Challenge up that was due December 1st for a chance at a $15 Amazon Gift Card. [I won last month!!]

FYI, if you want to play along for December's challenge and a chance to win $15.00 deposited into your PayPal account, click HERE. It's easy and it's fun!

Anyhow, on to the event I wanted to share. During dinner one evening last week Hubby brings up in conversation,

"So, David [a farm hand] came up to me about fifteen minutes before quittin' time and said 'Can I ask you a favor?'"

Hubby had replied, "Um, sure."

"Can I borrow the sprayer? I want to take it down to my girlfriend's house for a few minutes."

Me listening and thinking, why would he want to take the sprayer to his girlfriends house? Hubby was just as curious at the time of that conversation.

Now, before I get to the sweet part, let me share that we aren't talking this type of sprayer:

I mean this type of sprayer:

"Well, I met my girlfriend while spraying for Farmer So-and-So. And, so I thought it'd be special if I showed up on a sprayer to ask her to marry me."

I blink and then let out a melodic "Hooooow sweeeeeeeeeet...... So, what did she say?"

Hubby, "I don't know, he was on his way when I left. I just told him to be sure he had it back at the barn before dark."

Me, being a girl, "How can you not know?"

Anyhow, as it turns out she was quite surprised and they are engaged. Isn't that just the sweetest thing? I found it completely romantic and I just had to share. Happy Saturday!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

CWCG: Game Night

It's that time again! Time for the CWCG.

And, yes. My entry is last minute again. But, I've kinda' discovered that the funnest (I know, it should be most fun but 'funnest' is a funner word) entries are when I work them up in my head last minute and click them out rapid fire!

This one came to me yesterday before I'd even gone back and looked at the words and the theme. I knew whatever the words were would work in somehow with my GAME NIGHT entry; but when I reviewed the theme I was thrilled that this fit perfectly! Be forewarned, part of it is a little cheesy. :-P

Oh and excuse the formatting; I actually typed the whole thing up in blogger and the indent key doesn't work up in here.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you November's CWCG entry:


It is game night at Kay and Jay's house; Friday nights are always game night. We each take turns hosting a night of rivaled fun. The host gets to choose the game but I was able to coerce Kay to play Charades tonight.

India has no clue what is in store for her. India is my girlfriend. We've been together since we met at the 'Plan B' 18 months ago. 'Plan B' is a bar where me, Kay, Jay, Kendal and Zack always hang out. I, being the more introvert type, have always been the fifth wheel until that St. Patrick's Day evening when I bumped into a beautiful brunette - promptly spilling my green ale all over her white Bluefly, James Jeans. I didn't know what those were, but I immediately found out from the brunette's five minute rant.

I've since learned that spilling green ale, any ale, on a pair of Bluefly jeans is the same as spewing on a pair of leather Clarks. I didn't know what those were either, until she bought me a pair. Since being with India, I've been educated in labels and fashion. India has flair. That's what I love about her.

"Hi guys!" Kay bubbles as she opens the door. I remove India's wrap to hang it in the closet, brushing her sleek, bare, olive shoulders with my thumbs. I feel her shudder under my touch. That's a good thing. I smile to myself, she doesn't know just how good it is going to get.

"Y'all wanna' glass of wine?"

"That sounds wonderful, I'll take a glass of red." India answers.

"I'll take the same," I reply.

While Kay heads into the kitchen for the wine we head into the living room. Kendal and Zack are on the couch and Jay is warming himself by the fireplace while sipping on his usual scotch.

"What took y'all so long, you guys were supposed to be here like thirty minutes ago?" Jay harasses as he pats me on the back.

"Well, you know me. It always takes me longer to accessorize than I plan." India answers, her eyes stealing a quick glance at me. We both know it was the shower and what we did in it that delayed our attendance.

"And the fog slowed us down," I add.

"Yeah, it rolled in earlier than expected this evening," Kay notes as she hands us our glasses of wine.

"Well, let's get started!" Kendal forces herself up from the couch with a helping hand on her back from Zack. Kendal and Zack have been married almost as long as India and I have been together. She was my date for their wedding. I recall the shock on my friends' faces when I walked in with the brunette who had reamed me out and humiliated a drunken me in a bar a mere two weeks before.

"I wanna win the game before I go into labor with this baby." Kendal was within two days of her due date. I know this only because India has been on the phone with her almost every day since the sonogram confirmed the pregnancy. She's fit in well with my old pals. They love her almost as much as I do.

"Okay, so we all know the rules. Nine rounds and then the 'phrase challenge round' to determine the ultimate champion. Which, by the way, will be me!"

"Hey!" Zack chimes, "There are two of us on the team you know."

"OK, we. But you know we only win because of me." She sasses as she pokes her tongue at Zack.

"Oh, that's real mature, Kendal. Are you going to teach the baby that?" I jab, getting into the banter as I poke a mini sausage with a toothpick.

"They do always win," India joins in.

I take a seat on the the love seat and she sits down on the floor between my knees, resting her head against the cushion of the seat. Having her there reminds me of something else we did earlier and I feel my pants twitch. Watching India as she takes a long, deep sip of her wine draws a little shot of electricity through my body and another twitch. My senses are in high gear, my heart beating a little quicker than usual with the anticipation of tonight.

"I'm first because I'm the pregnant one."

"I'll sure be glad when she has that baby so she'll quit using that one on everything." Kay says, rolling her eyes.

Kendal goes first. She's wiggling her fingers from above her head and then all the way down to the floor. At least as far as a full term pregnant woman can squat. She repeats the movement.

"Um, Leaves!" Zack shouts. "Fall, falling...RAIN!!!"

"That's it!" Kendal beams, "One point for us!"

Kendal resumes her seat on the couch next to Zack. He immediately, begins to rub the small of her back with his hand.

My turn. I draw a slip. Printer. Now how the hell am I supposed to act out a printer?

Kay flips the timer, "Go!"

First I just stand there.

"Come on Miles, you can do it." India prompts me. "Give me something, anything."

Then an idea comes to me. I hold my hand flat like it is a writing pad. I take my other hand and mime a pencil, pretending to touch the led to my tongue and then I start to mime write on the invisible pad in my hand.

"Writing!" India yells. "Writing a note! Drawing! Making a list! List!"

I just nod my head no and keep trying to do what I'm doing harder and with more emphasis as if that will make it any clearer.

"Times up!" Kendal hollers out! "That's one for us and zeeeee-ro for y'all."

"Not very sportsman like," Jay teases.

"Since when have I ever been sportsman like? I'm in it to win it, baby!"

I return to the love seat. India reaches for my hand and leans her head back for a kiss. The warm flavor of the wine and the tickle of her tongue make my body sizzle.

Kay and Jay are up next. They win their round, the word was lollipop. Kay did a really good lollipop and every one razzed Jay about it. The game continued until the last round before the final 'phrase challenge'.

It's Kendal's turn to act out again. Kendal draws a slip of paper, scrunches her face for a minute and then puts it on the coffee table.

"This is a hard one, but I'm no quitter so I'm going to give it my best." She nods and Kay flips the timer. She slowly leans down to the coffee table, placing her hand on it as she lowers herself on all fours. She crawls around like that slowly.

"Dog! Cat! Animal!" Zack shouts. "Horse!"

Kendal rapidly nods her head that he's on the right track and then she rises up, again using the coffee table for support. She makes a draping motion over her head, then cradles her bulging baby belly. She points to where she was on all fours and then cradles her belly again.

"Baby? Pregnant horse?" Kendal glares at him.


"Times almost up," I say. "Just a few grains of sand left!"

Kendal repeats her actions, applying more attention to the invisible drape over her head.

"Um, Oh! MARY!! Joseph...DONKEY!!!"

"Yes! Yes!" Kendal squeals and her and Zack embrace and then do their ritualistic happy dance, which is more laughable than usual considering Kendal's enlarged state.

"Un-Believable. Y'all looked at the words before the game." India teases. I kind of wonder the truth in that. Kendal is very competitive. I wouldn't put it past her.

"Now what would be the fun in that?" Kendal cracks back.

"You'd win," Jay and Kay say simultaneously. Enough of this. I'm ready for the 'phrase round'. That's where the night is really going to get good. I massage India's shoulders and run my fingers through her long locks of hair. I love her hair. I can smell her juniper shampoo.

"Let's finish this up already and get to the phrase round so we can eat." I say.

"Why even play it, we already know who's gonna' win." Kay replies. Kendal beams that huge winners grin of her.

"Yeah, lets eat. All this winning worked up an appetite," Zack agrees.

"NO." I respond, almost a little too emphatically. "If she's going to win, she has to win fair and square. Besides if India and I win this round there will have to be a phrase off." I shoot Kendal and evil grin.

"We're playing." Kendal pipes in determinedly. "And, I'm going to beat your pants off Miles Harper." I knew that'd get her. Game back on.

We rock, paper, scissor to see which team goes first in the phrase round. India and I win and go first and it is my turn to act. I planned it that way. I draw a slip of paper. I pretend to read it but I don't need to. I already know my phrase. I slip my hand from the safety of my pocket and rest it at my side against my leg.

"Aaaand, GO!" Kay flips the timer.

I calmly lower myself down on one knee. I bow as I slowly raise my right arm and open my palm where a black, velvet box resides. My eyes are locked on India's. The others in the room gasp, lightly. They had no clue what I had planned for tonight. What better way to propose to the woman I love, the India I adore, than with the friends who were there the very moment I met her.

"Well, don't just sit there India! Guess dammit! Guess!" Kendal belts out.


"The phrase!" Kay chimes in.

"Times almost out!" Zack jumps into the moment.

"Will... you... marry me?"

I jump up from where I am and embrace her, "Yes, India. I will. Will you marry me?" I whisper into her hair. She answers me with a kiss so deep I almost forget we are in the middle of my friends' living room with all my best friends watching on.

"Miles, you devil." Jay says.

"Let's give 'em a minute, guys." Kay herds everyone into the kitchen as she adds over her shoulder, "Y'all come join us when you are ready."

India and I hear Kendal complain as she exits the living room, "That was great and all, but I still win."

"Oh, Kendal." The rest of them say.

India and I chuckle together. She takes my hand and tugs me toward the restroom. I hesitate until I see the smoldering look in her eyes. Sorry Kendal. This time I win.

What do you think? Too cheesy?

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