Crazy Moms Unite

You can love your momma, and you can love your husband, but you’ll never know love until you have a little miniature version of yourself that you can’t give away because you’d miss them too much. They’re not angels, and if anyone tries to tell you that parenting isn’t hell (at least 60% of the time), they’re lying. Hell as it may be, I wouldn’t trade it for a thousand different paradises.

Seriously, they will try your very existence. When they’re babies they deprive you of sleep and showers and sanity. Toddlers will destroy anything if given the chance. Preschoolers will inevitability say the word “why” until you wish they’d never learned to talk. Then comes the school-age, the pre-pre teens, who are too big for their britches, who learn to turn your words around to make you look like an idiot. I don’t even want to think about what comes next. God help me when the hormones hit. 😦

I’m giving all you parents this talk, because it’s real. No matter how many books you read, regardless of how many methods you try, you will FAIL!!! It’s expected, it’s natural. Being a parent is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda gig. The kind that when your head hits the bed at night and everyone has eaten AND bathed (even a baby-wipe bath) you have arrived!

I fail daily. I yell, I zone out, I make empty promises. I’m pretty sure snack cakes are an acceptable breakfast. I don’t always play games with my boys, and it’s okay. Sure, I had a glass of wine and went to bed at 830 last night…ohhh and while my littles were at the school dance Chris Hackney and I had an adult dinner at the steakhouse in our sweatpants (Go ahead and judge me). Never feel like you are alone on this journey!

I love my two boys more than life itself. Some (most) days, I love them even more when they finally go to sleep. Tomorrow- I will try a little harder to enjoy every moment, to not rush, to let them make mistakes without their momma losing it.

But for now, I just wanted to let all you other parents out there know that you’re not alone! I will make a horrible face if you ask if I want more kids. You have a good chance of catching me in pajamas somewhere, and an even better one of my daytime pj’s (yoga pants). You will see me yell at my kids, and probably spank them too. Don’t be shocked by the laundry and dishes at my house, some days I just quit.


Southern sweets…

I’m not even sure why they still make banana flavored pudding. It should be outlawed.

If you’ve never had Banana Puddin’ from a true southern cook, you haven’t lived. Here’s my Mamaw McCoy’s recipe that is good enough to make you wanna slap your momma. (And super easy too).

2 boxes of French Vanilla Instant Pudding

1 2/3 cups of 2% milk

1 14oz can condensed milk

1 8oz container sour cream

1 16 oz container whipped topping

6 bananas, sliced

1 box of vanilla wafers

Mix two boxes of pudding with 2% milk until smooth. Blend in evaporated milk. Add sour cream and mix well. Mix in about 8 oz of whipped topping. Let chill for 15 minutes.

Crush 1/4 box of vanilla wafers and set aside. Layer the bottom of a 9×13 pan with remaining wafers.

Fold sliced bananas into pudding mixture (or you can slice half of a banana and add to a single serving, which keeps them from turning). Layer the pudding on top of the wafers.

Spread the remaining whipped topping as the final layer in your pan, and sprinkle with crushed wafers. Chill & enjoy.

If you’re ever at the inn, and you should be, just holler ad we will whip you up a batch!

We do dinner like it’s 1955…

I’m no June Cleaver, and Chris sure as hell ain’t Ward, but we throwback our family dinner like the world is still streaming in black and white.

We aren’t your picture perfect family, we’re dysfunctional at best. We own two businesses, raise two crazy pre-pubescent boys, and volunteer for way more things than we can keep up with….but we still make time for dinner. Some days that means fast food; some days it’s a mismatch of spaghettios, cereal, sandwiches & TV dinners, but what we’re chewing isn’t what matters. It’s taking the time to learn about each other.

Hackney dinner conversations are open forum, and nothing is off limits. Sure, there are plenty of days that we only manage to find out what the kids had for lunch…and a fair share of days we spend the twenty minutes keeping one child from throat punching the other, but it’s all worth it when you hit the conversation lottery.

This evening, Chris & I were supposed to go to two separate meetings, Ty (the youngest) had baseball practice and we had full intentions of skipping. Long story short, we couldn’t find a sitter and ended up skipping the meetings to be there. Afterwards, they begged to stop at the local Dairy Queen for dinner. Keep in mind, this was second dinner, they had both eaten before practice…so we obliged. (we πŸ–€ to eat)

It’s common for us when eating out to do trivia questions until our food is ready… And I’ve never thought of it this way until right now, but it is a great ice breaker. Fast forward ten minutes and we are having an in-depth discussion about school, peer pressure, why they don’t have cell phones, how much their lives will change in middle school, and why urinals don’t have stalls. We talked about why they do and don’t like school, if there are any kids in their classes that get bullied or left out, and how school lunch just ain’t what it used to be.

Ty says “I’m never going to do drugs”… Most parents would shut it down right there. Drugs are bad, yotta, yotta… But we’ve all been young before. They’re gonna be exposed, and if they don’t try drugs- they’ll try alcohol, or get in a sexual situation…why avoid it? Our kids aren’t perfect, and that is sure to become more evident over the next ten years. (seriously, if you’re reading this and your kids are 8 & under, ENJOY IT) I don’t know about y’all, but I would rather know what my kids are into. I want them to feel comfortable enough to ask us about anything, and confess when they’ve screwed up. In no way does this mean that I won’t be disappointed, or they won’t get a good ass-kickin, but I never want them to feel like they have to hide anything.

I told you that to ask you this… When’s the last time you sat down as a family? Eat with your kids y’all. Put the phones, video games and the tv away, and spend thirty minutes getting to know each other. Hell, if you want to be really ambitious- have everyone help with prep and clean-up….. Oh, and teach them to chew with their mouth closed, that’s something we can all appreciate. πŸ˜‰

The bride needs an assistant, or two.Β 

Shew, it’s been awhile.. life most definitely gets in the way of blogging. Let’s talk weddings. The single most dreamed about even in every little girl’s life. This weekend we had the pleasure of helping with a gorgeous wedding at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. If y’all haven’t visited, it’s a must see. The grounds are gorgeous! 😍😍

CCC offers a ton of different wedding services. Melanie & Aaron asked that we do day-of coordination services. If you future brides have not considered having a day-of assistant, you definitely need to. Of all the services we offer, I feel like this one is the most important. 
Your wedding day is busy. For you, your party, your family, your guests. It’s impossible to both enjoy your day, and try to coordinate all of the details. A bridal assistant or coordinator will be your behind the scenes person. Ensuring every decoration is just right. Snapping a few candid photos. Getting vendors where they need to be. Calming down bridezillas. Making last minute decisions. Being a voice of reason when there’s  a disagreement. Bribing flower girls, running last minute errands​, handling payments, filling in spots that would’ve otherwise been a catastrophe. A good assistant has any emergency item you could imagine at a moment’s notice- everything from floral tape to bug spray. Your sanity is worth it’s weight in gold. 

Although it’s easier to be a coordinator for the entire planning process, it’s not impossible for us to come in on the last day and make things happen.  Typically, we will meet several days before, to discuss your plan. Then, we’ll attend rehearsal, and be at your beckon call for your entire wedding day. 

Do yourselves a favor, and find an amazing coordinator. ❀

Check out our Instagram or Facebook for more wedding photos. πŸ™‚ 

Why I Didn’t March.Β 

Let’s talk about feminism. Defined:the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. Am I for equal rights? Sure I am. I think everyone should be treated equally, regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political party and Anything else you can think of. Bottom line is, work hard (if you’re able) and don’t be an asshole. 

I don’t like to spew my opinion on politics & religion, because I wasn’t raised to do so. I think that the world was a better place when we all had the good sense to mind our own business. 

Between our own idiocy and the bias of the media riling us up, we have become so divided that I honestly wonder if we will ever get our shit back together again.  

Here’s what I do know, because we live in such a fabulous country, we are afforded freedom of speech, and a right to a peaceful protest. Do I want to throw on a vagina hat and walk a mile? Hell no, I don’t even want to walk across the room to get a blanket when I’m cold. Ya know why? Because I’m tired.

 This week alone I’ve ran my household, my grandfather’s household, dealt with my grandmother’s estate, actively participated in a moving job, painted several rooms,  ran two businesses, and managed to make it to all of my kid’s sports practices.  Honestly, I could use a little less equality and a little more Netflix. 

Do I respect the ladies that decided to do so? You bet I do. If they made a speech that made them look ridiculous, that’s their right as an American. Do I agree with them? Maybe on some of their agendas, but not on their delivery. 
Do I believe that men and women are equal? Yes, I believe we have the same constitutional rights, that are for the most part fair. However, there are many areas that need some work: pay scale (almost there), parental rights (men are screwed in this dept), and military draft (equality is equality, ladies). Those are just three that come to mind. 

Men and women are inherently different though, and that’s something that we should embrace. Can I drive a U-Haul? You bet I can. Can my husband do it better? You’re damn Skippy. Can he turn on the washing machine? Yes, but sorting the laundry is not his forte. This may be different for any given couple, and that’s okay too. Point is, anything my husband can do, I can do too, and vice-versa. 

Anyway. I didn’t March on Saturday, because: 

  1. I don’t have time (or the desire) to watch the news, so I didn’t even know about the march. 
  2. I don’t even know what they were marching about.  From what I have read, it’s everything from anti- Trump to wage equality. 
  3.  I was doing man-work.  For my business. That I started. At a job that I lined up. That paid not only me & my husband, but a handful of others that needed the cash in our crap economy. 
  4. Had I been not busy, I likely would still have not marched, because I’m lazy. 
  5. Lastly, I didn’t March because it’s counter productive. If you want to make a change- you don’t scribble out a sign and walk in the street. You organize, you set goals, and you work your ass off to achieve them.

Bottom line is.. regardless of who the president is, or where you go to church, or who you lay down next to tonight, we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!  So love your neighbor, and serve your community, and work hard to make your corner of the world the very best it can be. ❀

Y’all ain’t gonna like this….

Three years ago, I sat at my desk, at a job that I hated. Sure, it was a state job, with decent benefits and a 401k, but I. Was. Miserable. 

There, I said it. I despised my new boss, my changed responsibility, and definitely the rules of the food stamp program that I had to abide by. My husband was working a sixty hour week, we had any and everything our little hearts desired… nice vehicles, vacations, name brand toilet paper, and we hadn’t cashed in our change jar in years. 

It took the death of my father to wake my ass up. Life is soooo very short. Our kids are both in school, our family members are aging, and here we are spending all of our time chasing a buck for two free weeks a year. 

That’s not what led me to write today….sorry if I’m ADD…Coal is my inspiration of the day. I just finished an article about Obama mentioning Pikeville, KY specifically when discussing rural areas progressing economically….and if you don’t have a minute, you may wanna stop here. I’ve got a lot to say, and it’s likely gonna be a big run-on sentence…with commas & dot-dot-dots. (I love me some dot-dot-dots…😂)

I was born and raised right here in Coal Country. Lived here until I went to college, I know more coal miners than you could even imagine. I suppose though, I never truly thought about their job until someone I loved spent his days inside a mountain.

 I headed downstate to college right out of high school, and it was the best call I could’ve made. I don’t care where you’re from, when it’s time for you to go to college-y’all need to get the hell outta wherever you are and learn about life, yourself, the world. I had big plans to leave Pike County in my past- until I had kids. There was nowhere I would rather be. It’s wonderful to have family and friends (that are just like family) to help you raise them. I can send them to school and not have to worry, I know their teachers, their friends parents, their coaches. It’s amazing. Really. 

Back to the point. The hubs and I move “home”. I get a decent job with the state, but it takes him a minute to find a good job. He tried the cookie factory and hated it (although the pay ain’t bad), and eventually landed a job as a mechanic for a coal-prep plant. He started as a contractor, got hired on permanent, and received plenty of on the job training. Pay was about $5/hr more than he was used to when we lived in the city, and it was union. The job was sometimes tough, but he got to put his handyman skills to work, and he loved it. 

Everyone knows that companies don’t like unions, so they were one of the first to get laid off… fortunately, he was transferred to another nearby plant and was able to retain a job, but as an equipment operator… about a day into this and he was bored out of his mind- he made the hardest decision I think he will ever make: he chose to go underground. I hated the idea, but I’m all for making your own choices, so here we go. Vacation days given up to get his card, he gets the job, and a $10/hr raise.  Yep. A twenty something with little college is making $30ish bucks an hour. That’s insane.

 Keep in mind that this same job is ready and available to a fresh outta high school kid.. I mean with overtime you’re looking at a $100k job with two weeks of training. That’s damn good money. That my friends, is what the majority of men are used to here in the coalfields. 

Let’s talk about what it’s like. Great pay, great benefits, paid vacay and bonuses…but here’s the best part- you work at least 10 hours a day, sometimes more, and usually 6 days a week. 

 Your day starts, if you’re lucky, with your wife packing your dinner bucket-literally a hard plastic tacklebox or toolbox so their food wouldn’t get smashed. I packed a many. Double bag the sandwich so the coal dust doesn’t get in, extra drinks, snack cakes, chips, paper towels (for “shitter” paper, except there’s no shitter), various medicine, inhaler for breathing, always some extras-because you know you’re working extra, and an “I love you” note just in case.  It doesn’t stop there. My miner (like most) kept a picture of his family inside his hat, double layered his socks, taped up his boots, strapped on his 30 pound belt with his rescuer (in case they aren’t getting air), light (because that’s literally their only source), and I can’t even remember what else. I hated it, and I’m sure he did too. 

This was the job he chose. He laid down on a man-trip twice a day everyday with his brothers, to ride 45 minutes one way INTO the earth to earn a payday. He worked for hours every day bent over because be wouldn’t fit in his workspace. No contact with the outside world, nothing but his crew, his bucket, and the middle of a mountain.  You know what else he had? Uncertainty. Never knowing if someone would make a mistake, never knowing if the air quality was actually up to par, never knowing if his family was okay, never knowing if he would wake up to a job tomorrow.

As much as I hated my job, I hated his ten thousand times more. 

I constantly searched for other work, contemplated moving, talked going back to college- the keyword here is me. Not him. You know what he did in his free time? Ate dinner and slept, occasionally played with the kids or washed his truck.  

In the meantime, changes came for me. I decided to open a business. Somehow, against the odds, it worked. Fast forward a year into the endeavor, we had our bills straight, and we are considering kicking the mines to the curb. But, not before they pulled it out from under our feet. That’s the thing about a non-union mine, you’re expendable.

While I’m on this big-ass soapbox…Yes, I agree that the EPA has ruined a many a mine, but coal is and always will be a variable market. This is not the first time it’s been driven to the ground, and it certainly won’t be the last. In addition, there’s plenty of blame to place on mis-managed companies. Yet, we hang onto promises and hopes. For years we have been given a coal severance tax. What is that? It’s literally a royalty on a non-renewable resource. Wanna know what it should’ve been used for? Expanding industry and infrastructure in our area. Wanna know why it wasn’t? Because the politicians were paid off by the coal companies to not bring in any workforce competition (instead it lined pockets). Draw your own conclusions.  One more soapbox item….Coal miners (mine included) have a very hard time accepting a job after coal, it’s hard to change that 100k mindset, and local options at even half of this salary are few and far between. 

I suppose what I’m getting at, is inspiration, and broadening horizons. I don’t just want a better life for me and my family. I want it for everyone. 

I can’t say that I love coal, I’ve seen first hand what it does to men, our land, and our community. Sure, it’s made a good living for a lot of people, but where has it really left us? Can we all just stop with the blame game and the wait for someone to wave a magic wand over us? We are the only ones who can truly change our lives. 

Pikeville, KY has done a great job of turning a coal town around.  It’s an amazing small town.  I wish, instead of beating a dead horse, the surrounding people would wake up. Wake up and realize that by relying on coal for so many years, and never seeing a bigger picture, how crippled we truly are. I wish we could all look at how drugs, poverty, entitlement and laziness has taken over our little corner of the world. Most of all though, I wish that I could fix it, and stop waking up every day just wanting to run away… 

I swear, his arms feel like home…

Chris Hackney and I have been together for twelve years. Long years. Almost like dog years. 🐕 We are the perfect example of fire and gasoline. Stubborn, hot tempered, passionate people who refuse to break… Regardless of how much the other one tries to get them to. 

I don’t know that a day goes by that we aren’t fighting about something, but we are always quick to make-up. I couldn’t even tell you what most of our tiffs were over. 

Now I’m lying next to him in bed, he’s tickling me in his sleep and I realize that I could not ask for a better man. He is perfect, even if he is mean as hell. 

He has proven this time and time again, but as you get older, you get wiser, and perspective becomes much clearer. 

The last week of my life has been one of the hardest I recall. My granny, my person, passed away. For six days we could do nothing but watch as the inevitable came to pass. He was there. Holding her hand. Checking on my grandpa. Sleeping beside me in a hospital chair. Doing all of our housework. Being a single mom. He calmed my soul when my nerves were shot. Fed me when he knew I hadn’t eaten. Today he stood by my family as we chose her arrangements, and didn’t hesitate to help dig her final resting place. Now he’s sleeping in the “you’ll be sorry” Trump t-shirt she had made for her T-Man. 

When you’re young and in love you think you have it all. For us lucky ones, we do end up with just that. I love you, Chris Hackney, crossing guard sash and all.