Before I can even commence with this post I have to share that I noticed in my list of site stats that someone actually googled “Big Mama chicken on the outside” and “Big Mama Blog raw chicken” yesterday. Which makes me feel like somewhere, someone was talking about me (maybe contemplating giving me some sort of important assignment or task) and then thought to themselves WAIT. I THINK SHE HAS ISSUES WITH CHICKEN. And then my blog confirmed it and that was the end of my possible career in the CIA.
Or maybe it’s possible it wasn’t nearly anything that exciting.
So this past weekend was the magical weekend of the year that Gulley and I spend the entire weekend both child and husband-free while we complete all our Christmas shopping and wrap all our presents and drink one or four bottles of wine. It is always one of my favorite weekends of the year and I’m so glad that we established this tradition over twenty years ago. Even while I’m baffled that two twenty-year-old college girls who actually once basically hitchhiked to Oklahoma (true story) had the foresight and wisdom to come up with such a brilliant idea.
The only real problem with the whole thing is we need to come up with a way to stretch it to three days of shopping instead of just two. Not that two days isn’t enough time to get our Christmas shopping done. It just doesn’t allow enough time to try on multiple pairs of Frye boots in Nordstrom for reasons that have nothing to do with Christmas and the spirit of giving.
We began our shopping weekend ‘o fun at 9:30 Friday morning when I picked Gulley up from her house. After a quick stop at Starbucks for caffeine nourishment, we drove straight out to The Shops at La Cantera because we actually employ a strategy and we figured it would be a zoo on Saturday so we should finish our bisness (I really meant to type “business” but I accidentally typed “bisness” and so I’m keeping it. Like we were two gangsta shoppers finishing our bizness because we are just that hip and cool.) there on Friday.
(Actually I just remembered our first stop was Hobby Lobby. I should remember this because it’s where I started to gripe to Gulley about all the logistics of Caroline’s third grade class party and might have been stressing out about the chocolate fountain when Gulley looked at me and said, “I think you need to hashtag this conversation #FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS”. And then we laughed until we cried because what elementary school party has a chocolate fountain? Except for my daughter’s?)
Technically our first stop should have been Toys ‘R Us but we were mistakenly under the impression that we would be able to avoid Toys ‘R Us entirely this year and so we made a strategic error. Sadly, it was around 5:00 p.m. on Friday when we realized that, YES VIRGINIA, we would have to go to the place that makes Santa want to die, but acknowledged that neither of us could handle it on a Friday night and decided to save it for first thing Saturday morning.
But we managed to find several gifts at La Cantera and TJ Maxx Homegoods. Then we ventured to Target for a few things and ended up at Cost Plus World Market in search of various odds and ends.
Finally, we made a quick stop by my house to unload our packages and then treated ourselves to a delicious Italian dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. Then we came home, watched five episodes of Friends and went to sleep.
First thing Saturday morning turned out to be 11:00 by the time we woke up and got dressed, but what’s the point of having an empty house with no kids if you don’t sleep late and enjoy it? Gulley also asked me if I would use the You Curl on her hair so she could see if she might want one for Christmas.
And so I You Curled. And I’m here to tell you that Gulley had to fight a stronghold of hair pride the rest of the day. She said she hadn’t liked her hair this much since the night of her Junior Prom in 1989. I can only imagine how much she would have loved herself if she’d been able to wear that same peach lame’ dress with shoes dyed to match.
But I do have to say her hair pride was warranted because it POURED DOWN RAIN all day Saturday and her hair was still standing strong when we got back to the house that night.
It was like a hair miracle. Like the fishes and loaves that fed the multitudes but with hair and styling spray.
By the time we got home on Saturday night we were soaked from the rain, exhausted, and cold. But we rebounded after I got a fire going in the fireplace (SHOUT OUT TO LIGHTER FLUID) and put on our pajamas. That’s when the wrapping party began.
Each of us has a pile of presents that need to be wrapped and evaluated and sorted. Then we eat some cheese and crackers and possibly some chocolate chip cookie dough and get to wrapping while we watch girl movies. We started with When Harry Met Sally which led to a hilarious conversation about our worst dates ever. Sadly, I cannot share all that information here but sufficed to say that I once set Gulley up with a guy who didn’t order any food at dinner because he was “on a diet” and then proceeded to eat her entire plate of cheese enchiladas when they arrived.
There was also a time we went on a double date in college with two guys that had us drive out to their “house” that turned out to be a single-wide trailer surrounded by so many random dogs that I finally just stopped my car in the middle of the road for fear of running one of them over. The dogs, not the dates. Just wanted to clarify.
Needless to say, it didn’t work out for us. But we did end up having a nice night at the Bellville County Fair where our dates bought us each our own turkey leg.
And speaking of single-wide trailers, we watched Urban Cowboy next. We both admitted there was a time we dreamed of having our wedding receptions at Gilley’s and dancing to “Can I Have This Dance?” while wearing white cowboy boots and maybe remarking “Mama, my legs are sweatin’.”
Of course I don’t know what’s more disturbing. That we ever dreamed of those things or that we both saw the movie while we were still in elementary school?
But like Gulley said, “It was a different time back then.” Yes. A time when someone cast John Travolta to play a cowboy.
We stayed up until around 2:00 a.m., but finally every present was wrapped (except for the two I forgot about until the next day) and we went to bed. On Sunday morning we faced the sad realization that another Christmas shopping weekend had come and gone all too soon.
But on the bright side, Gulley’s hair was still curled.
And that’s more than Sissy could say by the end of her wedding reception at Gilley’s.
Dang. This post is nearly as QUOTEABLE as Napoleon Dynomite, or Elf. Here–pretend we are at a stuffy dinner party, when suddenly I decide to loosen things up a bit by quoting my favorites from Big Mama: Wrapping Party
“Shout out to lighter fluid!”
“Like the fishes and loaves…but with hair and styling spray.”
“where our dates bought us each our own turkey leg.”
“It was a different time back then.” Yes. A time when someone cast John Travolta to play a cowboy. ”
Oh, but I should stop now. I don’t want to totally dominate the dinner party, ya know.
thats what I WA THINKING!
also #1stworldproblems# !
I wish I was as cool as you and had wrapping parties with my buddies!
Good grief go to bed already! You’re not making a lick of sense – being Christian and/or associating yourself with “Christians” doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t shop, do your hair or eat out…it simply means you recognize you’re a sinner and your need for saving.
I’m taking this opportunity to thank Big Mama for a very fun, uplifting blog, day in and day out. Occasionally there will be a post that is of a more serious nature in the mix , that says very eloquently the pure message of the Gospel. I guess that’s what keeps me coming back. Her love for the Lord doesn’t have to be spelled out in every post, it’s between the lines. And sometimes it gets center stage. (I should add, the posts from Ecuador were very thought provoking and meaningful.)
Drinking my first cup of coffee + laughing over the latest post = good times!
I’m an expat living over in Europe and I really love the peek into your life in Texas, and reminders that there is good Mexican food to be had over there in the States (sure can’t find it here!) Thank you Big Mama for brightening my mornings.
Do I understand correctly — your brave, beautiful, big-game hunting daughter’s third grade class will be having a chocolate fountain for their Christmas party? Say it isn’t so.
Seriously, what an amazing blessing to have such a great friend that lives nearby!
Yes, you are missing something, Not that it’s any of your business but 99% of their shopping weekend is buying Christmas presents for their kids, not themselves. They’ve just made it a fun girls weekend.
And you have no idea how Melanie spends her money or how much she contributes to Compassion or any other church or charitable organization. You really shouldn’t be so judgemental.
Ditto, Bops! Our girls are the most giving, loving ladies I know. Don’t be messing with our peeps!
Being Christian and loving God does not mean you cannot have fun or go shopping or do your hair. Yes, while some people are “called” to denounce the things of the world and go live a pauper-lifestyle and spread God’s message, not all of us are. Some of us have forums, such as a blog, that allow us to share about God – some of it in humorous ways (fish & loaves reference in this post, fantastic!), and sometimes serious (Compassion postings).
I don’t really recall Melanie asking you to contribute to her buying a pair of boots for her trip — but I do recall her sharing about the amazing children she met and asking us to support THE CHILDREN. Not her. If you go to the Compassion website, all of the money goes to the child. I, for one, was so inspired by all of the Compassion bloggers with their gracious writing, tales of meeting their sponsored child, and yes – even their humorous stories about canoes and the heat, that my husband and I decided to sponsor finally.
Gosh, I wish I could more eloquently relay to you how it’s OK for Christians to lead “normal” lives. Ones that include Starbucks. It’s simply our recognition that apart from Him we can do nothing and that we have been offered this gift of Grace because He died for our sins.
Dear Amanda – Melanie has more kindess/giving/love in her heart than you can imagine. Please do not place judgement. (That certainly isn’t Christian!?!)
P.S.There are thousands of us that read her blog every morning, love EVERY single word, and would be extremely disappointed to know that your words caused her any hurt.
I posted above, but wanted to add that after the Ecuador trip I finally took the plunge and am now sponsoring a little girl in that country. After reading the blogs I just had to. And I’m thrilled.
I’ve read this blog nearly every day for about three years. I don’t remember her EVER asking for donations to fund her mission trips and certainly not a pair of boots. She has encouraged others to donate to Compassion to sponsor A CHILD, not herself.
Before you judge anyone for enjoying their blessings, stop and consider what YOU’VE done to help others. Or are you too busy sitting on your throne of judgment criticizing those who ARE doing something?
Big Mama, you’re a Christian, YOU SHOULDN’T CURL YOUR HAIR. Baaahahaha Sorry, had to chime in. I don’t know what’s funnier – this post or that absurd comment. Pipe down, Nancy.
Love that it was Bops to the rescue. 🙂
Amanda @ Serenity Now
Um, I just have to say that I think it is awesome that I saw Bops (is it the same Bops??!) comment here on the blog. I loved this post…it has me dreaming of perfectly curled hair like Gulley’s. I wish there was a glamour shot!!! I also think that people who don’t have anything nice to comment, shouldn’t comment at all. Amen, and The End.
Hugs to you from Virginia! 🙂
Oh, that weekend sounds perfect. I just need to find a friend willing to abandon her family next weekend so that I can try it. Come to think of it, that might not be so hard.
2 full days of shopping should be enough to find several shirts for my husband which are most emphatically not of the plaid variety, right?
Wait – You Curl is just a curling iron? I thought it was some sort of industrial-strength hair goo.
Melanie is TRULY one of the most kind, humble, and faithful people I know. When something good happens to her, she shows her gratitude by going out and doing something nice for someone else. She is the real deal.
What a fun great weekend! You made my morning with all your one-liners!
I am smiling as I am reading this! I am so grateful that God put you two together all those years ago. It has blessed both of our families and the blessings just grow and grow! I am also still very grateful that all of us survived that fateful Oklahoma trip (ha ha)! Love you!
I am amazed at comments that come out of people’s keyboards. Melanie – you are loved. We would all do well to remember point #13 from Boomama’s post today.
13. Remembering Proverbs 29:25: “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.”
My daughter’s class often has a chocolate fountain at both school parties and church parties. Two moms in both the school and church classes have chocolate fountains and the fountains first made their appearance in second grade. They have continued to make frequent appearances at all the various parties! Personally I’m not a fan of them because warm, wet chocolate over fruit doesn’t appeal to me AT ALL, but apparently I am in the minority. The kids like them with marshmallows, too.
I attempted the poor man’s version of the You Curl but due to the inability to remove my own head and place it on a stool where I could then walk around it 360 degrees, I failed in the mechanics of it. Had I a real You Curl in my hands I still would have failed, due to the above mentioned shortcoming. I’m glad Gulley experienced good hair, but unless YOU come in the box with the You Curl, I’m afraid she may have gotten her hopes up. Of course, maybe she could train someone at her house to do her hair for her. Huge kuddos to those who are able to coordinate their arms and fingers to pull this stunt off on their own!
Also, I’ve asked so many times….won’t you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell us Gulley’s real name??? Consider it an early Christmas gift to us!!!
I won’t even address the silly comment from Amanda.
My first grader is having a chocolate fountain for her Christmas party! I was thinking that was crazy, too. Especially first graders=what a mess.
Never heard of the You Curl, but now that I googled it, it has been added to my Christmas list.
I enjoy your posts so much and appreciate the fact that you use this forum to bring forward the great work that is being done with Compassion as well!
I hate to see you criticized by someone who I assume doesn’t even know you. She should probably go elsewhere for her reading.
“Every party has a pooper that’s why we invited you!” gesh get off your high horse Amanda…blah
I love reading this blog every morning. It makes me laugh and cry (mostly because I am laughing so hard!) What a fun weekend with your girlie. Sounded like a blast to me. Still laughing over the You Curl…every morning I look at mine (which I never use because who has the time and patience?!) and the glove a la Michael Jackson and have a giggle. I have never commented on any blog I read but I felt I had to come to your defense. I look forward to reading your blog everyday! Thanks Big Mama!
I always find you most hilarious. I love every single one of these posts that you do because you have such a quick wit and great sense of humor. Keep at it! I’ve known for years now that you’re awesome, but Gulley? She sounds like a riot as well. I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like with the 2 of you together.
Start by thanking God that people like Big Mamma exist in this world. She has been gifted with a sharp mind, able body, enviable wit, and a heart as big as Texas. Embracing life is the first step to sharing it. She does both- with zest and compassion. I feel blessed to not only know her in person, but to experience her hilarious escapades and her soul enriching thoughts and endeavors through this blog. It is making me a better, more thoughtful, more giving person each day. And it makes me laugh. It has also given me the desire to sponsor a child and to involve my children in the process. And really, what is more “Christian” than that? In today’s world of high speed everything, you need to be a little bit interesting to make a bigger splash. Big Mamma, your waves are big and far reaching. I am hanging 10 for the long run. Thank you.
Because of your last post on the you curl, I went out and bought one (at HEB LOL!) and used it for my company Christmas Party. LOVE! Ok, and because of your mention of you tube tutorials, I also watched a Portugese woman explain how to beautifully apply Maybelline Pink Punch. I’ve paid money to look this good before…I’ve never been able to do it myself. I would have never thought to watch you tube tutorials or bought a You Curl on my own. Thanks so much!
There was a not so nice comment left today and I’ve decided to delete it. Not for myself (I can take the criticism.) but because I don’t want the focus to be on that. I SO APPRECIATE all your support and kind words and that y’all know my heart and what is important to me. THANK YOU! Best readers EVER. Seriously.
Just wanted to address something I think may be misunderstood. When one donates to Compassion International you are donating specifically to that charity. According to CharityWatch.org Compassion International is rated four stars (out of a possible four stars). It is a very good idea — in fact I consider it a necessity — before contributing money to ANY charity to carefully check out how your donation will be spent. CharityWatch.org is a great place to start. No, I don’t work for CharityWatch or Compassion International and they never heard of me either.
I want to move to Texas and be besties with Mel and Gulley. Gonna go put the house on the market right now.
All of the commenters defending you must feel really nice. Isn’t it amazing in this day and age that we “know” someone we’ve never met so well that we all jump to her defense. I echo what everyone else says: you’re funny, your blog is uplifiting, your “ministry” works wonders. And good for you that you can take the criticism even when it’s not warranted.
OOOOOH Yuck! Don’t read then!!!
Oh my, I loved this post about Mel and Gulley having a wonderful girls weekend, I’m jealous! However, let’s not have some debbie downer ruin it, it’s Christmas afterall!!! Merry Christmas to Mel’s loyal readers.
When I grow up…I wanna party JUST LIKE YOU BABES!
Sounds like fun mixed with a whole lot of accomplishment!
Urban Cowboy. Oh my. You just remined me that I want to get “sissy” and “bud” tags for the back of my husbands truck:) BAHAHA!!!
Oh No my friend! Caroline is not the only one! My daughter’s 2nd grade class had a chocolate fountain at her Valentine’s party this past February! They had just read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and it is always followed by a chocolate party! 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and Gulley! You guys are so smart! I need to start that tradition!
I hate shopping of any kind but, that sounds like a weekend of fun! Minus the wind. Can we make it strawberry daquiries… virgin even. 😉
You and Gulley are so blessed to have families that give you an entire weekend off for shopping (for them, of course!) and not one, but TWO overnighters! Wow! As my then 3-year old son once exclaimed, “What a MAW-buh-lus I-DEE-UHD!” Translation: What a marvelous idea!!! My sisters and I spent an entire day together this past weekend, Christmas shopping and having lunch out. I almost didn’t go because of everything else I have to do, but I’m so glad I went. We had such fun! No one can make me laugh to the point of almost wetting my pants like my sisters can! I remember thinking that we should make it an annual “Christmas Shopping Day” tradition. But you and Gulley have inspired me. I can’t wait to tell my sisters about your shopping/wrapping/pj-partying weekend, in hopes they’ll want to do the same next year!
I think you are the most hilarous person, ever! God has blessed you with compassion, creativity and a precious family. Thank you for making me laugh all the time! 🙂
whoa! I don’t know what happened here today since obviously I am late to the party, but NOBODY, I repeat, NOBODY, should complain about our Melanie. Big Mama, you make us laugh and cry, you touch our hearts and souls, and speaking for all us regulars, we are proud to call you “internet friend.”
ps. need a pic of Gulley’s curls, please.
Any kind of girls weekend is big fun in my book.
Also? Any time it’s hot (in south Georgia that’s a lot of days) my husband and I always say, “Hey, mama, my legs is sweatin’.” A classic movie, for sure.
Sounds so fun. I’m jealous–really jealous. Now, I’m curious as to why y’all would hitchhike to Oklahoma? I live in Oklahoma, and I can only assume you were really bored to leave TX for OK for any length of time or there was a football game here. We would move to TX so fast it would make your head swim (hill country is my dream world), but my husband’s industry doesn’t pay much there.
I must start this tradition immediately! What fun!
I LOVE the shops at LaCantera….the hubby had a bizness trip there a few years ago and I met a girlfriend from the area who took me there for shopping and lunch. What a great outdoor mall!
I need to see a pic of the You Curl curls to see if I need to get one!
I, also need to start this tradition. How fun…reading your posts about you and Gulley make me miss my dear friend who lives far away. Love your blog.
So I missed all the bruh ha ha. Dang. But I can infer that the dirty truth came out today…..there is always that one that tries to drag you down.
First I have to say I love the celebrity comments from all of the people we’ve come to know and love right here on the blog. Hi Bops! Hi Honey! Hi Gulley!
I don’t know what was said exactly but I want to chime in anyway. 🙂 I feel like I’d be “that whacko” if I ever saw you in Chick Fil-A or some other random place because I do feel like I know you and maybe we’d be friends if we lived in the same city. I’m invested in what happens to you and Caroline and P and all of your friends and family. Ya’ll seem so awesome and down to earth. You’ve shared so many wonderfully hilarious, sweet, random, intimate, and genuinely touching things here on this blog. I agree with Gulley that you are the real deal. I use to read alot of blogs and it has been whittled down to just this one just becasue I feel like you never put on aires or pretend to be something you’re not. You’re just Melanie…take it or leave it and I love that and I’ll take it!!!
Boo to you who don’t.
Ps…from your reading your blog I decided to sponsor a Compassion kid with the same birthday as my daughters.
I have to say that I love this blog … Melanie is just so amazing and talented, and I am always either amused or inspired by her writing (or both!). It would be so fun to know Melanie (but here I am in Chicago). I definitely disagree with the woman who left the critical comment. But what’s been on my mind all day is this … there can be a lot of negativity in the comments on blogs written by Christians and I wish people would consider, before they leave a negative comment, two things: first, that the negative comments may give non-Christians an unfavorable impression of Christians, and second, that even if you believe that a person is in a pattern of sin, you should really ask yourself if you are the right person to confront them with it. I think it should be someone who is very close to the person in the pattern of sin, and definitely not a stranger (unless, for example, a child is in immediate danger). So, for what it’s worth, stop calling out the strangers!!! And Merry Christmas to all!
I grew up 5 minutes from Gilley’s and every girl I knew growing up dreamed of having her reception anywhere BUT Gilley’s! 😉
I do not know what the email said, but Melanie in my opinion ROCKS. Period!
Wow…so glad I missed the controversial comment. You know what a temper I have, or so my mother tells me. You are beautiful, inside and out. God put you in my life in the most awkward teenage years, and I credit you that I was able to leave high school with some self-esteem in tact. Then MANY years later, God pointed me in your direction during a crisis in my life, and I felt hope. I know that personally, I am blessed to know you. And when I grow up (if ever), I hope that I am lucky to be even HALF the person that you are. Love you, Mel.